June 22, 2021
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The Arun Jaitley U-Turn On Henderson-Brooks Report

The Arun Jaitley U-Turn On Henderson-Brooks Report
The Arun Jaitley U-Turn On Henderson-Brooks Report

As recently as March 2014, Arun Jaitley said this about the Henderson-Brooks report when a large part of it was made public by Neville Maxwell:

This raises a legitimate question with regard to the de-classification of archival records. Are archival records are to be kept away from public gaze indefinitely? If the document pertains to internal security there may be some public interest served in keeping them a secret for some time. However, to keep these documents ‘top secret’ indefinitely may not be in larger public interest. Any nation is entitled to learn from the mistakes of the past. The security relevance of a document loses its relevance in the long term future. Any society is entitled to learn from the past mistakes and take remedial action. With the wisdom of hind sight I am of the opinion that the report’s contents could have been made public some decades ago.

What has been made public is Part-I of the report. It has been reported in the media that pages 112 to 157 are still not known. Is it because these pages contain some material which can be embarrassing to those in power in 1962? The first 111 pages having been made public, it is now necessary that the balance pages also be made public rather than allow public opinion be influenced by unauthentic sources.

Read Mr Jaitley full March 19 blog on the Henderson-Brooks report here.

But that was when the now acting defence minister was in electioneering campaign mode, it would seem. For the PTI now reports him as saying the following today, in a written reply, no less, in the Rajya Sabha:

"This (the Henderson Brooks report) is a top secret document and has not been declassified so far.

"Further, release of this report, fully or partially or disclosure of any information to this report would not be in national interest," Jaitley said in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.

Jaitley said the government is also aware of reports purporting to disclose part of the report on the 1962 war.

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