Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose died in an air crash in Taipei on August 18, 1945, a Union Cabinet note 50 years later said amidst the raging controversy over the INA chief’s mysterious disappearance.
However, a full five days after the air crash, a top official of the British Raj had weighed the pros and cons of “trying” Netaji as a “war criminal” and suggested that the “easiest way” would be to leave him where he was and not seek his release, suggesting that he may be alive then.
This emerged from documents that form part of 100 secret files, comprising 16,600 pages which were made public by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Netaji’s 119th birth anniversary in the capital on Saturday.
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Reacting to the development, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanded that Bose be given the title of “Leader of the Nation”, and said the country has the right to know the truth about his mysterious disappearance.
“The country has the right to know about the fate of Netaji. 75 years ago, Netaji left the country, but we still don’t know the fact about his disappearance. People have the right to know the truth,” Banerjee said at a function in Darjeeling.
In Delhi, Congress made a strong pitch for declassifying all files related to Bose, but said the way Prime Minister has set about the task, raises doubts about his intentions.
“Congress has already said that it would like to see all files to be declassified because attempts are being made to raise a controversy and misguide people of the country through a mischievous political campaign”, party’s senior spokesman Anand Sharma said.
Among the declassified documents was a Union Cabinet note of February 6, 1995, signed by then Home Secretary K Padmanabaiah, which said, “There seems to be no scope for doubt that he died in the air crash of 18th August 1945 at Taihoku. Government of India has already accepted this position. There is no evidence whatsoever to the contrary.”
The note further said, “If a few individuals/organisations have a different view, they seem to be more guided by sentimentality rather than by any rational consideration. The belief of these people that Netaji was alive and out of contact with any individual, but would appear when found necessary, has also lost relevance by now.”
The cabinet note was prepared for the government to take a stand on bringing the “mortal remains” of Netaji from Japan to India, kept in the Bose Academy in Tokyo.