The then Jawaharlal Nehru government “Congressified” the Netaji files that were declassified by the Narendra Modi government on 23 January, the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, to establish that he had died in a plane crash in Taiwan, senior journalist Anuj Dhar has claimed.
“The then Nehru government deliberately tried to present the documents in a way it wanted them to be written. And everybody within the government worked to prove him right. The documents released are not the gospel truth; they are no scriptures written by some heavenly bodies, but written by government loyalists. So believing everything written in them is wrong and sad. People have been fed with lies over the years by the Congress government,” Dhar, a research scholar and founder of “Mission Netaji”, told The Sunday Guardian.
Dhar, who has written two books on Netaji’s disappearance, clearly does not believe that Netaji died in the plane crash in 1945. According to him, the nurse who claimed to have treated Netaji at the Nanmon military hospital in Taihoku, Formosa, Japan, during his “final hours” on 18 August 1945, is a fictitious character. “In my book, India’s Biggest Cover-Up, I had mentioned about this nurse being fictitious and with the declassification, I have been proven right,” he said.
According to some documents declassified on 23 January, Justice G.D. Khosla, heading the Khosla Commission of inquiry into the matter during the then Nehru government, had expressed his doubts to a government official in the course of a conversation about the existence of such a nurse. The relevant portion of the excerpts read thus, “Justice Khosla added that a mention was made by Shri Guha, of a nurse who attended on Netaji before he died. The whereabouts of this nurse could not be found; in fact, it is extremely doubtful if any such nurse existed, because two witnesses who gave witness before him in Taiwan categorically stated that only male nurses were working in the military hospital in 1945 and there were no female nurses at all.”
Dhar has also contested Netaji’s “death certificate” issued by the “doctors treating” him, as there is no concrete record to substantiate it. According to him, the “doctors” had been changing their statements in the course of several inquiry commissions and three “doctors”, who had claimed to have treated Netaji, had different versions to say. “There have been many discrepancies in the doctors’ versions and those of the eyewitnesses. For instance, according to Figgess’ report, Tsuruta witnessed Bose’s death and issued a death certificate. But, according to a file declassified on 23 January this year in New Delhi, the same Tsuruta is seen telling the Shah Nawaz Committee, constituted in 1956 to inquire into Netaji’s ‘death’, that he issued no such certificate. Yoshimi, another doctor who had treated Netaji, also gave conflicting statements on the issue of the death certificate,” Dhar said.
Dhar also said that in one of the declassified documents, a rift between Bose’s kin and Nehru was clearly evident.
Dwijendra Nath Bose, son of Netaji’s elder brother, wrote in a letter, which is among the declassified documents, that “My contention is that Nehru is suppressing the fact on Netaji being alive to the Indian public for his personal ends.” According to the declassified Shah Nawaz Committee file, Dwijendra Nath Bose had told the committee on 9 June 1956 that Nehru “had always been an enemy of Netaji”. The file also shows Dwijendra alleging that “Nehru betrayed Netaji after having promised to help him when Netaji had resigned from the Congress presidentship in 1939”.
Asked why the doctors from Japan had contradicting views, Dhar said, “Japan had its own diplomatic compulsions for not revealing the truth. It had already come out with a statement long back and cannot go back on it now.” Dhar said that the ashes kept in Japan should be brought back for DNA testing, “The government should try to get back the ashes and get a DNA test conducted by an independent agency like the FBI after which everything would be clear,” he told The Sunday Guardian.
“The declassified documents are voluminous, and as I am going through them, it is becoming clear that the then Congress government tried to clearly cover up the matter by making people believe that Netaji died in a plane crash. If this was the case, why did the Congress government not declassify these documents all these years under the excuse of having a law and order problem? Today, the documents are out and there has not been any law and order problem. Once all the documents are released and read, I will certainly be able to prove that the Congress government deliberately attempted a cover-up,” Dhar said.