Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose will not be allowed to rest in peace anytime soon nor the mystery surrounding his death. According to The Times Of India, successive governments seem to have believed that Bose might not have died in the plane crash in Taipei on 18 August, 1945.
The report added that a book commissioned by the Nehru government and compiled by historian Pratul Chandra Gupta in 1949-50 states that Bose may have "escaped from the plane crash."
On 23 January this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had unveiled 100 digital files related to Subhash Chandra Bose to mark his 119th birth anniversary at the National Archives of India. For a long time, Bose's family members had been demanding declassification of files related to him to help clear the mystery shrouding his death.
Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma recently said that the second tranche of 25 secret files on Bose will be released after the Budget session of Parliament.
Documents suggest that in 1948-49, British and American intelligence agencies also believed that Bose was alive and instrumental in a number of communist uprisings in Southeast Asia, as per reports in The Indian Express. After Bose's disappearance, the report added that the West Bengal state intelligence regularly intercepted letters to his family members to ascertain his death.
According to a report in the Hindustan Times, survivor of the plane crash in Taipei Habib-ur-Rehman Khan told a committee that Bose's clothes were on fire when their plane crashed. He had narrated that Bose told him, "When you go back to the country, tell the people that till the last moment, I fought for the liberation of my country; they should continue to struggle, and I am sure India will be free before long. Nobody can keep India in bondage now."
The Hindu had reported that Jawaharlal Nehru had consulted the Finance and External Affairs Ministry on 12 June, 1952, to extend monetary assistance to Bose's wife in Vienna. The report further added that "India has paid Rs 52,66,278 between 1967-2005 to the Renkoji temple in Tokyo for the upkeep of Netaji’s remains."
Whether the release of the Netaji files will have an impact on the forthcoming West Bengal Assembly Election remains to be seen. The BJP has nominated Bose's grand nephew Chandra Bose as its candidate from the Bhowanipore Assembly seat from where West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is also planning to file her candidature.
BJP Secretary Siddarthnath Singh was quoted in The Economic Times report saying, "The Netaji files and the issue of his death is already being talked about in the state. It has a huge sentimental value for the people there. It has already become an issue in Bengal elections."
While two commissions of inquiry had concluded that Netaji had died in a plane crash in Taipei on 18 August, 1945, a third probe panel, headed by Justice MK Mukherjee, had contested it and suggested that Bose was alive.
With inputs from PTI