NRIs Call for 'Netaji Declassification Day' in UK

Aditi Khanna/London
NRIs Call for 'Netaji Declassification Day' in UK

NRIs based in the UK have launched a global awareness campaign to gather public opinion in favour of declassifying files related to the death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, saying Indians have a right to know the truth.

The Netaji Subhas Foundation UK will mark August 18 as Declassification Day as a symbolic reference to the day the founder of the Indian National Army is believed to have died in a plane crash in Taiwan in 1945.

"The mystery about Netaji's disappearance refuses to die down. A mass awareness campaign is being run in India. Naturally, we Indians living abroad cannot be left out of this movement," the foundation said in a statement.

Led by Indian-origin parliamentarian Lord Navnit Dholakia, the foundation has been set up with the state goal to "create awareness amongst NRIs about the declassification movement as well as impress upon the British government that Netaji was a true nationalist".

"Seventy years is a long time for someone to disappear. Indians have a right to know the truth. The excuse given by successive governments is that the information contained in the classified files will 'spoil India's relations with foreign countries'.

"This movement for transparency is about getting to the bottom of what really happened to Netaji," said Anuj Dhar, the author of 'India's Biggest Cover Up' who has been leading a right to information (RTI) campaign on the issue for years.

At a launch event here yesterday, he claimed there are scores of secret files lying in the Indian Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Home Ministry which contain vital information to solve the mystery.

The official Indian government account has always maintained that Netaji died when his plane crashed off Taihoku in August, 1945.

However, the mystery surrounding the death has continued with conflicting accounts claiming that he was in fact taken to Russia.

Another conspiracy theory claims that the former Indian National Congress president, in fact, lived out his last years as a holy man in Faizabad.

Some members of Netaji's family, including grand nephew Chandra Kumar Bose, have now called for rallies across India to put pressure on the BJP-led government to declassify the files to lay the controversy to rest.

The Netaji Subhas Foundation plans to assist that campaign from the UK.

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