Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday declassified 100 files relating to the mystery surrounding Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s disappearance after plane crash in Taipei on August 18, 1945.
Historian, researchers and Netaji family members are sharply divided over the speculation that he died in the crash.
While some of his immediate family members including his daughter Anita Bose Pfaff have maintained that Netaji indeed died in the crash, others including his grand nephew Chandra Bose feel that he remained alive in incognito for years after the plane disaster.
Two commissions of inquiry concluded that Netaji died in the plane crash while a third Inquiry commission disputed this theory.
Twelve members of the Bose family attended the event at the National Archives of India (NAI) in Delhi where the PM made public digital copies of the files.
In October last year, in a meeting with members of the Bose family the Prime Minister declared that the government would declassify the files relating to the Bose’s disappearance 70 years ago.
In a tweet this morning, the Prime Minister said:.
“Today (Saturday) is a special day for all the Indians. Declassification of Netaji files starts on Saturday. Will go to National Archives myself for the same,” Modi said in a tweet.
In another tweet, Modi said: “Remembering Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his birth anniversary. His bravery and patriotism endears him to several Indians across generations.”
The files, digitized and given “preliminary conservation treatment” by the National Archives of India, were released on the birth anniversary of Bose.
The release of the files met the long-standing public demand” and “will also facilitate scholars to carry out further research on Netaji”, a culture ministry statement said.
The National Archives received 990 declassified files pertaining to the Indian National Army (INA) from the defence ministry in 1997.
Netaji, one of the leading lights of the Indian freedom struggle, set up the INA during World War II to take on the British Indian Army.
A former Congress president and once a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, Bose’s reported death in a plane crash in Formosa, now Taiwan, in 1945 has remained a mystery.
Bose was born on January 23, 1897 in Cuttack, Odisha.
Paying tributes to Netaji, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “I bow to ‘Netaji’ Subhash Chandra Bose on his birth anniversary today. He is one of the greatest heroes of India’s freedom struggle.”
BJP President Amit Shah also remembered Netaji on his anniversary, saying, “My tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, who inspired innumerable youth with his bravery, courage and patriotism.”
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