Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday announced to declassify 64 files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in possession of West Bengal government and put them up in public domain from next Friday (September 18). She also announced to digitize the files dating from 1937 to 1947.
“A total 64 files are with us. There may be one or two more. After reviewing all the files, we have decided to put them in public domain from next Friday,” Mamata announced at the state secretariat.
The files will be transferred to the Kolkata Police Archives, she said, adding they will be put on display at the Kolkata Police Museum.
“We want to maintain transparency and accountability. We don’t feel that there is anything related to internal security in the files. Everybody wants to know what happened to Netaji. He was a national icon. We know about his date of birth. We have no idea about his death. People deserve to know about his last day,” she added.
Asked if the state will request the Centre to declassify the files it has in its possession, Mamata said: “It is for the Centre to decide, but we want the truth about Netaji to come out”.
Asked whether the files to be declassified can throw up any clues about the alleged snooping on Netaji’s nephew by the central government from 1948 to 1968, Mamata said: “You have the options. It is better for you to go through the files to get the answers”.
Welcoming the decision, Krishna Bose, a former Trinamool Congress MP and Netaji’s family member, said there was no reason to hold back the files for 70 years after his disappearance. “It is a good decision. I feel that whatever is there in those files should be made public as it has been too long,” she said.
Krishna, however, felt that these files may not answer the real questions about Netaji’s disappearance. “These files are likely to be dealing with the police agents shadowing Netaji while he lived in Kolkata”, she said, adding that the move by the state government will “surely give direction to the central government”.
Netaji’s grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose termed it a “very positive step” and in the right direction. “We had written several letters to the chief minister and many more to the Prime Minister. Mamata Banerjee has responded to the people’s demand,” he said while demanding declassification of another 135 files lying with the central government, the KGB and those with the British intelligence.
“We have filed an RTI with the British government and they have responded saying that they are scrutinising the files,” he claimed. All India Forward Bloc (AIFB), a party formed by Netaji himself in 1939, too demanded that all files lying with the Centre and other states should be made public. “These files (with the state government) may not solve the mystery of Netaji’s disappearance,” said AIFB general secretary Debabrata Biswas.