After 70 years since the mysterious plane crash that purportedly killed Indian icon Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in Formosa (Taiwan), refusing the secretive efforts to cover up the incident, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced that the 64 files in state government’s possession would be declassified and made public.
While the Centre had all along been adamant to to declassify these documents despite pressure from Netaji family members, researchers, historians and admirers increasing the suspicion about the real truth, the state government’s move may embarrass not only the Centre but also the Congress, which had ruled for decades after the incident and kept the documents under wraps successfully.
To be made public on September 18, 2015 these files and documents would be opened to the public at the Kolkata Police archives in Kolkata and researchers are expected to throng the venue for a look and conform with the theories floated ever since the plane crash on August 17, 1945, two days after Japan’s surrender to the Allies, including the British Empire that ruled India then.
“We will make all files and documents relating to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose public on September 18. We want to maintain transparency and accountability. People must know about Netaji,” said Mamata Banerjee at state secretariat Nabanno located in Kolkata twin Howrah district. She said all these files will be digitized soon.
If Mamata Banerjee braces ahead and reveals the files, they may not fully give out the exact picture of Netaji’s demise but give a hint at foreign governments involved and the role of Indian leaders then, especially of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, whose bete noir was Netaji in the party during the freedom struggle.
What to Expect?
The incident will bring embarrassment mainly to two foreign governments and three if Russia is also involved.
First of all, Japan will have to answer the Indian public as to what happened on August 17, 1945 when Netaji was hurriedly put on a Mitsubishi Ki-21 Japanese heavy bomber at Saigon with his close aide Colonel Habibur Rahman and four others on August 17, 1945.
Why did Japan say the ashes of Netaji were brought back to Tokyo and interred at Tokyo’s Renkoji temple, where Buddhist prayers are held every year and thousands of Indians visit the event, including visiting Indian dignitaries?
If Japan feigns ignorance, then the scene shifts to the British rulers in India then. Either the erstwhile colonial rulers wanted to hush up his escape by taking him secretly to India or elsewhere.
Netaji’s grand nephew and Harvard University professor Sugata Bose in his book ‘His Majesty’s Opponent’ cited the testimony of six of the seven survivors of the crash that doctors did treat Netaji at the Taipei Military Hospital, before his mysterious disappearance.
Despite a cover up bid by the Indian government and three probe panels – Shah Nawaz Khan Committee (1956), GD Khosla Committee (1970) and the Justice MK Mukehrjee Commission — no statement from the government was able to satisfy the researchers about Netaji’s death.
Anuj Dhar, a researcher who had spent 15 years researching on Netaji’s death, told Daily Mail: “Now the time has come for the Centre to stop making excuses and divulge the secrets that lie in the files in its possession.”
After Independence in 1947, the government of India changed hands to Indian leaders but not its intelligence traditions, Dhar said, as the family of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was under watch for two decades until 1968.
Two intelligence files that were accidentally declassified sometime ago showed that something was in fact amiss in the entire saga of Netaji’s disappearance, said Anuj Dhar in his book “India’s Biggest Cover-Up”.
Here are some such reasons behind the missing link:
— Netaji died in a mysterious air crash in Taiwan on August 18, 1945 at the age of 48, declared Japan and said it had collected his ashes which were kept at a shrine for him where every year special ceremony is held by Japanese Buddhist monks. Even Pranab Mukherjee, when he was MEA minister, visited the shrine in the mid-90s.
— Disputing the government’s version, Netaji’s family insisted that an intrinsic probe should be made to trace the disappearance of Netaji.
— Another bizarre version was that Netaji was kept captive in the hands of the then Soviet Union and was interned until his death in the mid-1970s. Is this the precise reason why successive central governments denied to make the 100-odd documents public?
— Intelligence officials censored mails to Netaji family for two decades and their reports referred to Netaji’s German wife Emilie Schenkl as his ‘wife’ and not “widow”. Was it an oversight? No, all their reports were meticulously written, asserts Dhar. Does it mean even the intelligence officers were aware of some truth?
— Even the BJP that came to power promising to reveal the papers, dragged its feet during the Vajpayee government and even now under the Modi government. Why?
— If Japan was at fault, which is unlikely, it would be minor but then Russia may come under scanner and if they had kept Netaji as prisoner for decades, then many admirers of Netaji may not forgive the Soviet Union ever.