Grade Crossing

Yes, Modi government lied about Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose mystery

Is the RTI reply BJP’s unofficial apology to the past Congress leadership?

 |  Grade Crossing  |  4-minute read |   01-06-2017
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Yes, Modi government lied about Netaji mystery

The Netaji mystery has been disturbing the country insolently for the last seven decades. And it seems there is no end to the mystery in the near future either.

The Narendra Modi government did promise a lot after it took a very bold step to declassify all secret files about Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army (INA). But has it all fizzled out? Looks like it.

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) in its most recent reply to a Right to Information (RTI) request has concluded in no unclear terms that the government endorses the death of Netaji in a plane crash in 1945.

The MHA response states: “After considering the reports of Shah Nawaz Committee, Justice GD Khosla Commission, and Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry, the government has come to the conclusion that Netaji had died in the plane crash on 18.08.1945.”

pic1_060117114331.jpgMHA's response to RTI request.

It is true that the first two inquiries backed the plane crash death story of Netaji, but neither was well received inside or outside Parliament because of the unprofessional and unethical manner in which the probes were carried out. That is why the Mukherjee Commission had to be formed in 1999, through a Kolkata High Court order.

A former judge at the Supreme Court, Justice Manoj Mukherjee probed the matter for six long years and travelled to all countries that had some connection with the mystery. In his detailed report, he concluded - based on authentic evidence and logical reasoning - Netaji did not die in the plane crash. He further hinted in his report that Netaji might have escaped to Soviet Russia.

pic2_060117114342.jpgMukherjee Commission's findings.

Now the MHA in its RTI reply so brazenly lies about Netaji’s fate and twists Mukherjee’s report to ascertain the plane crash, which according to Mukherjee had not even taken place. The reply is articulated by the ministry in such a way that it shares the “government’s conclusion” on Netaji’s fate.

Being a researcher who has been studying the matter for more than 12 years, it is very hard for me to digest this government position. When PM Modi met a delegation of the Bose family and researchers including this writer in 2015, he had given us the assurance that he would do everything possible to settle the Netaji mystery.

We are thankful to him for declassifying the Netaji files, but that process was also stopped abruptly, stating that all available files had already been released to the National Archives of India. We had discussed with him and home minister Rajnath Singh the importance of releasing to the public domain the secret files held by our intelligence departments and foreign countries. It has been a year-and-a-half since the meeting and there’s no real progress on either front.

All this while the BJP has been blaming the Congress party for concealing the truth about Netaji’s death. With the new revelation, they have taken a sudden U-turn and have become one with the Congress party.

Many of BJP’s spokespersons have appeared on live television debates, holding Congress prime ministers - starting from Jawaharlal Nehru - responsible for the mystery. Is this RTI reply BJP’s unofficial apology to the past Congress leadership?

If it is not, the government still has time to correct this grave mistake. Since this is dubbed as the official position of the government, the MHA can release a statement to the contrary and repudiate this response. It can even produce irrefutable evidence of the plane crash to support its current view.

It would require much more than a 56-inch chest to go against convention and tell the nation the truth about its liberator. But unless the government does that, the people of the country will take it as the official line of the Modi government, which would translate as the current prime minister’s apology to the first prime minister of the country, wrapped up in a lie.

Also read: How my uncle Subhas Chandra Bose's disappearance became folklore

Writer

Sreejith Panickar Sreejith Panickar @panickars

The writer is a columnist, researcher and social activist. He is the founder-member of Mission Netaji.

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