Some “Congress-leaning” descendants of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose have suddenly become active in claiming his legacy at a time when the Narenda Modi-led government at the Centre is getting ready to declassify the secret files on the freedom fighter on his birth anniversary on 23 January. With these descendants toeing the line pushed by successive Congress governments that Netaji died in a plane crash in 1945 in Taiwan, sources claim that an effort is being made by those who are afraid of any disclosure of facts, to distract and divert attention from the impending declassification.
This week, the Netaji Research Bureau (NRB), which is patronised by Trinamool Congress MP Sugata Bose, a grandnephew of Netaji, started a series of programmes in Kolkata to mark his birth anniversary. This year’s focus is the platinum jubilee of the freedom fighter’s “Great Escape” from his Elgin Road home. Sugata Bose’s mother and father were in the Congress. Sugata Bose has consistently refused to support the demand for the declassification of Netaji files, saying it was a non-issue.
Chandra Kumar Bose, another grandnephew of Netaji, has issued a “warning” on Twitter against attending any NRB programmes, by saying that “the Bureau is run by Congress’ mole responsible for distortion of history and supporting the false theory of the plane crash in exchange of personal benefit”.
Earlier this month, a UK-based website, www.bosefiles.info dismissed the claims that Netaji may have been spotted in China a year after his “death” in a plane crash in Taiwan in 1945. The site is run by Ashis Ray, another grandnephew of Netaji, who has been tweeting about Netaji “dying” in a plane crash in 1945. The site has published a “report” on the basis of the Shah Nawaz Khan Commission report of 1956 which claimed that Netaji died in the plane crash. The site also posted diplomatic notes from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent in 1992 and 1995, respectively, and a public statement by the then Russian ambassador to India in 1996, which “confirmed” that there was no information in the Soviet Union or in the KGB archives about Bose entering the USSR in or after 1945. “It is a classic case of packaging old wine in new bottle. Except that the wine went sour long ago. Ray has been picking up data from the records available to conform with his views that Netaji died in an air crash in Taipei in 1945. Unlike several other members of his family, including his own mother and sister, Ray played no role in the movement seeking declassification,” said Anuj Dhar, author of the books India’s Biggest Cover Up and What Happened to Netaji.
A function has been organised on 23 January morning in Parliament House in which 15 persons, including the family members of Netaji, scholars and researchers, have been invited. The same evening Prime Minister Narendra Modi will go to the National Archives and formally start the process of declassifying the secret Netaji files.