Barely 36 hours before India’s best-kept secret comes tumbling out of the files, there’s utter confusion in the ranks of the Kolkata Police, who have been entrusted with the job of making public the Netaji documents with the Bengal government.
The Mamata Banerjee regime has taken the decision to declassify the 64 files on Subhas Chandra Bose on the morning of Friday, September 18.
On Wednesday, Kolkata Police bosses were struggling to put finishing touches to arrangements that would include thousands of people queuing up at the police museum in North Kolkata to have a glimpse of the files that have been lying with the state intelligence department.
Even members of the Bose family were not sure when and how they would be able to read the files. “Police higher-ups sounded cooperative but none could tell us for sure when and how we would be able to read the files,” said one of the family members.
Senior police officers told HT on Wednesday that the files would be there for public viewing in the first floor reading room of the Kolkata Police museum on Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road. Cops will also set up about a dozen terminals where people can read the digitized contents of the files.
However, plans are yet to be firmed up said Kolkata police commissioner Surajit Kar Purkayastha. “Nothing has been finalised. Whether there will be an inauguration programme, whether the chief minister will perform the honours, whether the media will be given soft copies of the contents of the files will be decided on Thursday evening,” Purkayastha said. Museum officials, too, aren’t sure of the final plans. “The first day may be reserved for media and members of the Bose family. The public would be allowed from Saturday onwards. The museum would be kept open on Sunday too to cater to the rush,” said a senior official of the Kolkata Police museum.
Irrespective of whether they get to read the contents of the files or not, from Saturday onwards, visitors will get a glance of the documents kept in a rectangular glass showcase in the reading room. “Those who are interested in reading the files can sit before the terminals in another room and read them,” said an official.
Sources said many of the files contain over a hundred pages of documents with handwritten notes on the margins. It is believed that some files contain personal correspondences between Netaji and his elder brother, apart from letters exchanged between politicians of independent India. Some of the files have the British intelligence’s analysis of Netaji’s speeches.
The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing was appointed by the state government to digitize some of the files.