West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday demanded that the Centre should speak to the Russian government to gain access to the files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in its possession.
She said the people of the country have a right to know what happened to the leader.
“It’s a matter of great shame that we do not know what happened to him after the controversial air crash of 1945. The Centre is releasing some files today (Saturday), I heard. But the real thing is in the Russian files. We demand the Centre must act on those files,” she said while celebrating Netaji’s 119th birth anniversary in Darjeeling, during her five-day trip to the northern part of West Bengal.
Mamata also demanded that Netaji be given the title of “leader of the nation”, just as was Gandhiji was honoured with the title of “father of the nation”.
Without taking any names, she said, “We all know that Netaji was deprived of due respect by some people. It’s time we fulfil our duties in regard to our great leader.”
“I don’t want to comment on diplomatic relations, but it is the demand of the people that the contents of the Russian files be known. Many researchers have hinted that the answer to the mystery over Netaji’s disappearance lies in the Russian files,” she added.
The West Bengal chief minister was the first head of a state government in the country to declassify files on Netaji — 64 files in all, running into almost 12,800 pages — on September 18 last year. On the same day, she mounted pressure on the Modi government for complete disclosure of the files in its possession.
Mamata does not believe the explanation that Netaji died in an air crash in Taihoku in August 1945, and has several times in the past expressed her scepticism in this regard.