Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday unveiled 100 declassified documents on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose at the National Archives of India. The documents are still not available in the public domain, but the NAI is expected to release around 25 digitised copies every month.
The timing of the release assumes political significance as West Bengal goes to polls later this year. The Mamata Banerjee government has already made 64 documents public last year and requested the Centre to do the same. These 64 documents, running into more than 12,000 pages, revealed that Subhash Chandra Bose’s family was snooped for nearly a decade by the Nehru government after his disappearance. The documents also show that the British suspected Bose was still alive after his plane crashed in Taipei.
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Here is what we know so far:
# Netaji Bose’s cremation records appear online
A UK website has released the evidence given by a Taiwanese official who claimed to have prepared Netaji’s body for cremation after his death in a plane crash in 1945. The testimony, contained in UK Foreign Office file No FC1852/6 and dating back to 1956, is among the last few documents to be released by http://www.bosefiles.info set up to establish that the Indian freedom fighter died in the crash on the outskirts of an airfield in Taipei on August 18, 1945. READ MORE
# British believed Netaji was alive
The British intelligence were skeptical over reports of Netaji’s death in Taipei. They believed that he was still alive and living in either China or Russia. The British arrived at this conclusion after no strong evidence had emerged of his death after his plane had crashed. READ MORE
# West Bengal probed if Subhas Chandra Bose missed the flight
In 1969, Member of Parliament Samar Guha wrote to the then West Bengal chief secretary M M Basu about a “sensational report” of Netaji’s survival. Based on the letter, Basu had directed the state government’s home secretary to conduct a probe into the claims.
The report Guha refers to an article that appeared in Jugantar which claims that a police officer had seen Netaji board a submarine in Singapore, not a plane, along with two Japanese officers. The officer went on to say that Netaji left his sword with him before leaving Singapore. READ MORE
# Netaji files reveal snooping on Subhas Chandra Bose’s family, doubts over death
The West Bengal state intelligence has regularly intercepted letters reaching members of Netaji’s family after he went missing in 1945. Documents released last year show the contents of a letter from a Swiss journalist Dr Lilly Abegg to Netaji’s brother Sarat Chandra Bose. Abegg wrote: ““I heard in 1946 from Japanese sources that your brother is still living.” READ MORE
# Netaji’s wife kept in touch with his family even after disappearance
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose saw his daughter Anita only once, when she was four weeks old. He was about to pay another visit to her in Vienna in 1943, but his “sudden departure” prevented this. The 64 files made public by the West Bengal government on Friday showed that while Bose never returned to Europe to his daughter and wife Emilie Schenkl, they continued to write to Netaji’s family after his disappearance. READ MORE