Kolkata: Calling it a national shame that the country continues to be unaware about the whereabouts of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday demanded explanations regarding the mysterious disappearance of the nationalist leader.
Speaking at an event to mark the 75th anniversary of Netaji’s great escape from his Elgin Road house here, Banerjee called for raising with the Russian government, the issue of declassifying secret documents on Bose.
“It has been 75 years since his great escape, but even today we don’t have answers as to what really happened to him. What can be more shameful and unfortunate than the country still doesn’t know about his whereabouts.
“If Mahatma Gandhi is the father of the nation, Netaji is the leader of the nation. The man who gave so much for the country, it’s a shame for the country in front of the whole world that we still don’t know about his whereabouts. We still don’t know if he is alive,” she said.
Referring to claims that Netaji did not die in the alleged plane crash in 1945 and escaped to Siberia, she called for a dialogue with the Russian government for unravelling the mystery.
“I believe the Russian mystery is great mystery. Has there been any discussion with the Russian government about declassifying secret files in their possession,” said Banerjee whose government in September last declassified 64 files on Netaji. AAA
“I don’t know if Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to Russia discussed the issue or not. But I believe we need to raise the issue with the Russian government. So that we get answers on whether Netaji had escaped to the country and if yes, then how long did he stay and where did he go from there,” she said.
“With so much time passed, Russian government should have made public the files,” she said.
Asserting that the entire country deserved to know the actual fate of Netaji, Banerjee announced setting up a committee with the sole agenda of seeking explanations on Bose’s whereabouts.
“Today the people of the country are seeking explanation and this explanation has to be given. We will set up a committee which for the entire year will undertake various programmes with the sole agenda – seeking explanation about what happened to Netaji. We demand explanation and explanation has to be given,” she said.
The committee would comprise representatives from the state information and cultural affairs department and the Netaji Research Bureau.
Banerjee said she did not believe Netaji died in the alleged plane crash of 1945 in Taiwan, and wondered why no DNA test was conducted on the remains claimed to be that of him preserved at Japan’s Renkoji Temple.
“The fact that even after Independence, extensive snooping was carried on Netaji and his family, is perhaps is a proof that the entire plane crash thing was planted and he did not die. People may have their own belief I believe he did not die in the crash. In fact I feel he may still be alive. People like him never die,” she added.
On the occasion she launched a book “The Oracle” and an exhibition depicting details about Netaji’s escape from the city residence on the intervening of Jan 16-17, 1941 in a car to Gomoh railway station.