Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grandnephew has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declassify all secret files on the iconic freedom fighter against the backdrop of a controversy over successive Congress governments spying on Bose’s family for two decades.
Surya Kumar Bose also told the media that most members of the Bose family did not believe the freedom fighter had died in a plane crash in Taipei in 1945, days after Japan surrendered in World War II.
Netaji’s grandnephew met Modi, currently on an official visit to Germany, after attending a reception hosted in the Prime Minister’s honour by the Indian envoy.
“I think as far as declassification (of the files) is concerned, to the best of my knowledge, at the moment I think the whole family is united,” Surya Bose said.
“But there are differences of opinion as far as the plane crash theory is concerned. But the majority of the family as of now do not believe in it,” he said.
“Because that is based on what is available in the public domain, what we have seen, what the three commissions of inquiries have produced and what we have heard from reliable source,” said Surya Bose, a businessman who is now president of the Indo-German Association in Hamburg.
The demand for the declassification of the files on Bose came amid a controversy that successive Congress government had mounted surveillance on Netaji's kin between 1948 and 1968. Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru was the prime minister for a majority of this period and the Intelligence Bureau reported to him.
The details of the surveillance were included in two files from the West Bengal intelligence department that were declassified and sent to the National Archives.
Surya Bose earlier said it was the duty of all people of India to raise the issue of declassifying the files on Netaji.
"Subhas Bose did not belong just to his direct family. He had himself said that the whole country is his family. I do not think it's just the duty of the family to raise this issue (of declassifying the Netaji files). It is the duty of the people of India to raise the issue,” he said.
Another grandnephew of Netaji, Chandra Bose, said, "The time has now come to declassify the Netaji files. Saying it would affect India's relations with other nations is simply a lame excuse. The Modi government has been talking of transparency and now it is the time to provide transparency by releasing those files which will tell us what happened to Netaji during his last years."
In a reply to a query under the Right To Information Act, the Prime Minister's Office has refused to declassify secret files relating to Netaji on the ground that the "disclosure would prejudicially affect relations with foreign countries".
Surya Bose pointed out that Netaji had played a key role to play in the Indian freedom struggle.
“Diplomatic missions and the government should no longer propagate untruth about the freedom struggle. It is not just (Mahatma) Gandhi’s non-violence, non-cooperation that brought India its freedom,” he said.
“It was Subhash Bose and his INA that gave the final blow which sent the British packing and this has been admitted by Prime Minister Attlee, by Lord Mountbatten,” he added.