Can’t reveal Netaji files, will hit international ties: Indian Hindu Nationalist Govt

NEW DELHI(REUTERS): The government has refused to declassify at least 87 top secret files containing information about Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, essentially on grounds that they are of “sensitive nature” that could be a problem for “India’s relations with other countries”.

This came up in a written reply from minister of state for home Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary in Rajya Sabha last month. The minister was replying to questions from Trinamool Congress MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, who had asked how many files relating to Bose are lying with the government and whether the government is considering declassifying any of them.

In his reply, Chaudhary said while there are 60 top secret files on Netaji Bose with the Prime Minister’s Office, of which only two have been declassified and sent to the National Archives, there are 29 files with the external affairs ministry, which the government is “not considering to declassify”.

In his reply to the House on December 17, 2014, the minister said, “As informed by the ministry of external affairs, they are not considering to declassify the records and sending it to the National Archives. As informed by the Prime Minister’s Office, they have 60 files related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, out of which two top secret files have been declassified and sent to the National Archives.”

“The ministry of external affairs has informed that the information contained in these files is of sensitive nature and bringing this information in the public domain at this juncture is not desirable from the point of view of India’s relations with other countries,” said the reply.

Chaudhary informed the House that the Union government had so far set up two commissions – Justice Khosla Commission and Justice M K Mukherjee Commission – to inquire into the “disappearance of Subhas Bose” on September 11, 970 and May 14, 1999 respectively. The Khosla commission submitted its report on June 30, 1974 and the Mukherjee Commission submitted its report on November 8, 2005.

The minister informed the House that, “files relating to both the commissions have been sent by the ministry of home affairs to the National Archives of India on 1.10.2012 for permanent retention. National Archives has informed that the work of arrangement of these papers was kept on hold following a communication from ministry of home affairs to return 700 items to the Faizabad treasury as per direction of the high court, Allahabad communicated by UP chief secretary”.

He said the National Archives has prepared the detailed list of the Justice Mukherjee Commission papers and it has been made available to scholars. NAI has also informed that four files related to Azad Hind government are available with them.

TMC Rajya Sabha MP Roy had urged the Modi government to declassify files relating to Netaji like it has been done in case of other national leaders. He wrote to home minister Rajnath Singh on August 4, 2014 and on October 21, 2014, requesting him to declassify the files. Roy in his letter also reminded Singh of an assurance he had made in Odisha during a public speech saying “if BJP comes to power, we will definitely take steps to unravel the mystery behind Netaji’s disappearance”. Singh had replied to Roy on August 22, 2014 saying that he is “having the matter examined”.