Even after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government will start declassifying the secret Netaji files from January 23, Bose family members have decided to maintain a weekly communication with the PMO and lobby to be a part of home minister Rajnath Singh’s team that is scrutinising the files to keep up the pressure.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister met about 50 people, including Netaji’s family, activists and associates. In the presence of union home minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Modi announced that the process of declassification to begin from Subhas Chandra Bose’s birthday on January 23.
“We have our work cut out. We will maintain weekly communication with the PMO. We will seek to keep track of the developments regarding the declassification of files, which is to start by January 23. We will also approach Rajnath Singh, who will form a team to scrutinise the files and we have appealed to be a part of it,” said Chandra Bose, Netaji’s grand nephew from Delhi.
“The Prime minister made it clear that full declassification will take place and gave us a time frame,” Chandra Bose added.
According to family members there are around 200 files of around 60,000 pages with the Centre. Apart from 130 files with the Centre, 70 are with the Intelligence Bureau.
“We will also be in touch with Sidharth Nath Singh who was present during the meeting with the PM along with MoS urban development Babul Supriyo so that both can communicate directly with the Prime Minister on the issue,” added Chandra Bose. The family members also plan to periodically visit Delhi and meet government officers.
Incidentally, the Bose family members are sharply divided with Trinamool Lok Sabha MP and Harvard University history professor Sugata Bose ( another grand nephew of Bose) and former Rajya Sabha MP Krishna Bose staying away from Wednesday’s meeting.
They firmly believe the leader died in the Taihoku aircrash, though they have welcomed the decision to declassify.
The family members who attended the meeting also urged that on January 23, the Centre should also publish a report containing the summary of the contents in the declassified files.
According to family members the scrutiny of secret files has started months back after they met the Prime Minister. Wednesday’s meeting was the fourth the Prime Minister had with the Bose family members.
“I think some files will be declassified on January 23. We would like that the Centre should also publish a report along with them. This will help us and hundreds of researchers,” said Chandra Bose.
Activists and researchers who were part of the team also stated that they would constantly monitor the progress until all the files are declassified.
“On Wednesday, the Prime Minister made it clear that Russia and UK will be approached for revealing the contents of the files relating to Netaji in their possession. We will further appeal that files with China and Japan should also be retrieved,” said Sayak Sen, activist and part of Open Platform for Netaji, who was a part of the team, which met Modi.
The team also pressed for a committee that will investigate the disappearance of Netaji, and are hopeful that Modi will soon take steps in that direction.