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What do the recently declassified files reveal about Netaji?

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 19 September 2015, 18:25 IST

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was one of the most popular leaders of Indian independence struggle. His most prominent achievements were founding the 'Azad Hind Fauj' and heralding an armed struggle against the British empire for India's independence.

However, there has been a controversy around his death and several people opine differently about how he met his end and the Indian government's dubious role in his sudden disappearance. It is believed that Netaji died in a plane crash on 18 August 1945, while he was traveling from Taiwan to China.

There are numerous conspiracy theories regarding his death which cropped up within a few hours after the announcement was made. Many claim that Netaji did not die in a plane crash and rather, it was a cover-up by the government of India at that time.

Now that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has declassified 64 previously-secret files which contain information regarding his life, multiple questions relating to his death, and surveillance on his family have been raised.

Here is what the files have revealed so far:

  • File 606-29 contains a letter written by Netaji's nephew Amiya Nath Bose dated 18 November 1949. Amiya, in this letter, writes "For the last one month, a strange broadcast is being heard over the radio. We're getting this broadcast on the short-wave near 16mm. The broadcast only says 'Neta Subhas Chandra Bose transmitter-e katha bolte cheyechhen'. (Bose wants to speak on the transmitter)." This sentence is repeated for hours. We don't know where it (the broadcast) is coming from, because that's not announced. It's possible to find the location of a transmission."
  • According to an Indian Express report, there are various references which show that Netaji did not die in 1945. It says that the state intelligence intercepted a letter written by Swiss journalist Dr Lilly Abegg to Netaji's brother Sarat Chandra Bose in 1949. Dr Lilly wrote, "I heard in 1946 from Japanese sources that your brother is still living."
  • The same report claims that these declassified files consist details of a covert operation to spy upon and track the letters exchanged between Netaji's family and others. Netaji's grand nephew has reacted to these revelations and questioned the Indian government's motive to spy on a freedom fighter's family. He also demanded a probe by the Narendra Modi government.
  • Another report by Indian Express claims that the files show that American and British Intelligence agencies believed Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was alive during 1948-49 and he was behind communist movements going on in Southeast Asia at that time.
First published: 19 September 2015, 14:26 IST