Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that the government will start de-classifying files related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose from January 23 – his birth anniversary.
Modi said this in a series of tweets after meeting 35 members of Netaji Bose’s extended family at his official residence here.
The prime minister said the government would also request foreign governments to declassify their files on Bose, whose reported death in a plane crash in 1945 in Formosa, now Taiwan, is widely disputed.
Modi said he will begin the process involving other countries with Russia in December when he visits Moscow.
During the hour-long interaction, the family members requested for declassification of the files relating to Netaji, available with the government of India.
They also suggested that the government of India initiate the process to get declassified the files on Netaji available with foreign governments.
Bose, a leading light of India’s freedom movement who at one time was elected the Congress president, was said to have been fleeing to Russia when his plane reportedly crashed and caught fire.
This version has been challenged for decades by innumerable Bose fans who have held varying versions of what happened to him after 1945.
Bose’s family members met Modi in the light of the West Bengal government’s declassification of official files related to the last days of Bose, who set up the Indian National Army (INA).
“It was a privilege to welcome family members of Subhas Babu to 7 RCR. We had a remarkable and extensive interaction,” Modi said.
“I told Subhas Babu’s family members – please consider me a part of your family. They shared their valuable suggestions with me,” he added.
The prime minister said he found the suggestions of the family members of Netaji to be similar to his own thinking and the view of the union government.
Modi said: “There is no need to strangle history. Nations that forget their history lack the power to create it.”
He also shared with the family members some instances of how he had recalled Netaji during his term as the chief minister of Gujarat.
Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State Babul Supriyo were present on the occasion.
The family of Netaji welcomed and expressed satisfaction over Prime Minister’s announcement.
“During the meeting prime minister agreed to declassify the files and thereby re-write the history of country’s freedom struggle,” Netaji family member Abhijeet Ray told reporters.
“Prime minister has given the responsibility to Home Minister Rajnath Singh to look into the matter,” he added.
“I am very happy and we are hopeful that the government will do its best to reveal the mystery about the Netaji. Hope truth is out. Hope other countries follow suit,” Anita Bose, Netaji’s only daughter, said.
Grand nephew of Netaji, Chandra Bose described the prime minister’s decision as the “Independence Day” for the family.