The West Bengal government will declassify 64 confidential files lying with the state Home Department related to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on September 18, announced Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata on Friday.
The opening of the files is likely to shed some light on whether Netaji met his end in a plane crash over Taiwan in 1945.
“A total of 64 files are with us. There may be a couple more, too. After properly reviewing all the files, we have decided to put them in the public domain. We have decided to release them so everybody can see them. We don’t feel there is anything related to internal security in them. Everybody wants to know what happened to Netaji,” said Banerjee, adding that the files would be unveiled at Kolkata Police Museum.
She further said the state government would digitise all such files from 1937 to 1947.
Talking about the mystery that commanded India’s interest for seven decades, Banerjee said: “Whatever pertinent files we have we will declassify so it helps in unravelling of the mystery.”
Claiming she was not initially aware of the files' existence, she said: “We believed all files on Netaji were with the Centre. We came across these documents while going through other files and decided to make them public. It’s a big decision.”
Netaji's death has been a matter of controversy for decades, and the debate resurfaced recently after revelations that security agencies had tailed members of the Bose family till as late as 1968.
A variety of conspiracy theories thrive in the public domain, with a section of Bose family and scholars holding on to the belief that Bose did not perish in the crash.
Netaji’s grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose has for years spearheaded a movement to declassify files pertaining to Netaji lying with the Centre.
Welcoming the state government’s move, he said: “We hope this will pave the way in unravelling what actually happened to Netaji. I think Banerjee’s move will prompt the Centre to take a decision in this regard and release the 135 files.” He urged the state government to form a team, including members of Bose's family, to study the files.