Centre U-turn on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: Issue not closed yet

The controversy was triggered by a reply from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to an RTI application filed by the spokesperson for a Kolkata-based group, Open Platform for Netaji.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:June 3, 2017 4:08 am
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, UPA government, Shah Nawaz Committee, indian express news Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose inspecting and INA regiment. Agency Photo

The Centre on Friday tried to wash its hands off a declaration that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was dead by putting the onus on the UPA government, but added that it was willing to examine any “new fact” if and when it came up. The clarification came after a sharp reaction from political parties, including the Trinamool Congress and West Bengal BJP, on the issue. The controversy was triggered by a reply from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to an RTI application filed by the spokesperson for a Kolkata-based group, Open Platform for Netaji. “The government has come to the conclusion that Netaji died in the plane crash on August 18, 1945,” the ministry said in its RTI reply on May 31, referring to the findings of the Shah Nawaz Committee, Justice G D Khosla Commission and the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Enquiry on the subject.

The controversy was triggered by a reply from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to an RTI application filed by the spokesperson for a Kolkata-based group, Open Platform for Netaji. “The government has come to the conclusion that Netaji died in the plane crash on August 18, 1945,” the ministry said in its RTI reply on May 31, referring to the findings of the Shah Nawaz Committee, Justice G D Khosla Commission and the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Enquiry on the subject.

An MHA spokesperson on Friday clarified that the issue was not closed. “There was a conclusion in 2006 that Netaji was dead. The RTI reply was based on that conclusion. However, the issue is not closed. Any new fact, if it comes up, will be examined by the government on merit and an appropriate decision will be taken,” he said.

The RTI reply on Netaji was based on a May 2006 Cabinet decision, the spokesperson said. The Congress-led UPA was in power at the Centre then. He said a supplementary reply to the RTI applicant was being sent, clarifying the government’s position. The spokesperson said the government in 2006 had taken this position after the Mukherjee Commission (1999) concluded that Netaji was no longer alive, considering that he was born in 1897. In its RTI reply, the NDA government also sought to dispel reports that Netaji lived in disguise as ‘Gumnami Baba’.

Following the RTI reply, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanded a clarification from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I am shocked to see this unilateral decision of the central government without evidence,” she said on Facebook. Earlier, the state BJP unit had written on Facebook that they did not support the RTI response. Chandra Bose, BJP leader and Bose’s grandnephew, demanded a special investigation team to probe his disappearance.

The All India Forward Bloc accused the Centre of “misleading” the country by claiming Netaji had died in an air crash in 1945. The Congress also accused the NDA government of making “concerted efforts” to rewrite history.

inputs from Kolkata

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