RSS leaders in West Bengal have reacted strongly to Union home minister Rajnath Singh’s Facebook post commemorating August 18 as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s death anniversary, describing it as a conspiracy to hide the truth about the freedom fighter’s fate.
Bose’s fate remains a touchy issue in West Bengal, where many refuse to accept the popular theory that he died in a plane crash in present-day Taiwan on August 14, 1945.
The ripples of Singh’s Facebook post marking Bose’s ‘punya tithi’ (death anniversary) have reached Keshav Bhawan, the head office of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in West Bengal.
RSS leaders said they believe the post was a conspiracy and Singh should have been careful. The leaders have also conveyed their views to the RSS’s national headquarters in Nagpur.
“We strongly protest against the post. The Mukherjee Commission made it clear that there was no plane crash in Taihoku on or on any day close to August 18, either before or after the day,” said Jishnu Basu, the RSS karyavaha (secretary) for the southern part of West Bengal.
“We believe this is a conspiracy to hide the truth about Netaji. How can the Union home minister post such a thing publicly? If it was a mistake, the senior BJP leadership should be very careful of such mistakes not being repeated.”
Basu added: “We believe that Shahnawaz Khan was part of the conspiracy, (as he) vouched for the airplane crash. He was subsequently given a cabinet berth for three consecutive terms. One must be very careful over public statements on Netaji. The entire country and Bengal have special sentiments for the leader.”
RSS leaders said the truth about Bose should come out to blow the lid off “the conspiracy” to hide the later years of a national leader who went “missing” in 1945.
Singh’s post on Facebook, which read “Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Ki Punyathithi Mein Unko Sadar Naman”, was removed after protests from different quarters.
Controversy shrouds the fate of Bose. The Mukherjee Commission, led by retired Supreme Court judge Manoj Mukherjee, was set up in 1999 to inquire into Bose’s fate.
After a seven-year probe, Mukherjee's findings that Bose did not die in the plane crash were rejected by the then government.
Netaji’s family, who have met Prime Minister Narendra Modi a number of times to seek the declassification of files on the freedom fighter, too were upset by Singh’s Facebook post.
“We demanded an apology from the Union home minister. It is not for our family but for the entire nation. The post was removed but many shared it. The government accepted it was a mistake but the damage is already done. Such a post gives legitimacy to the controversial date already negated by researchers and the Mukherjee Commission,” said Chandra Bose, Netaji’s nephew.
“I was with BJP president Amit Shah during the time. He too tweeted on the same lines. But it was immediately removed after I spoke to him,” said Chandra.
Netaji’s relatives recently visited Delhi to press for declassification of files and the setting up of a committee to probe his fate.