Rivals of the Centre-ruling Bharatiya Janata Party called Saturday’s disclosures on Netaji an attempt by the Prime Minister to earn political mileage from the issue ahead of the April-May assembly elections in West Bengal.
The Congress, which was also livid over a ‘fake’ letter purportedly written by Jawaharlal Nehru in which the former PM referred to Subhas Chandra Bose as a “war criminal”, said the declassification process was an attempt to divert attention from the ‘failures’ of the government.
The Trinamool, which runs the government in Bengal and will be in direct contest with the BJP in elections slated for later this year, has sought to take credit for the declassification process by saying that its chief minister had begun the process last year.
Congress spokesman Anand Sharma said, “The way PM has carried this out raises doubts about the intentions of the Modi government. The nation needs to understand this.” The former minister also hit out over the ‘fake’ Nehru letter that was circulated on social media.
The letter that Nehru allegedly wrote to former England Prime Minister Clement Attlee said, “Dear Mr Attlee, I understand from reliable sources that Subhas Chandra Bose, your war criminal, has been allowed to enter Russian territory by Stalin. This is a clear treachery and betrayal of faith by the Russians as Russia has been an ally of the British-Americans, which she should not have done. Please take note of it and do what you consider proper and fit.” The unsigned letter ends with, “Yours Sincerely, Jawaharlal Nehru.”
The controversial letter — dated December 26, 1945 — was not among the declassified files. The letter doing the rounds was replete with errors.
However, one of the declassified files shows that the external affairs ministry had confirmed in 2001 from the British foreign office and defence ministry that “Netaji’s name is not in the list of war criminals drawn up by the UK after World War II”.
“It’s a controversy deliberately created to mislead people and try to belittle the great achievements of (two) stalwarts of the Indian freedom struggle”, Sharma said.