A day after ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal demanded that a book chronicling the history of Azad Hind Fauj (INA), compiled by the history division of the Defence Ministry decades ago, should be made public, BJP MP Swapan Dasgupta has backed the demand.
Swapan Dasgupta on 20 January wrote on Twitter that he endorsed the demand by TMC’s Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, The journalist said that in 1999, a PMO official had told him that Jawaharlal Nehru had suppressed it because he felt the government version would not be believed. Dasgupta wrote, “Time to get the real story out.”
Addressing a press conference a day earlier, Roy had slammed both the UPA and the NDA governments at the Centre which refused to publish the book. According to Roy, Chandrachur Ghose, a researcher (and columnist with Sirf News), had filed a PIL in 2009 seeking a copy of the book and in September 2010, the then Chief Information Commissioner had directed the Centre to either hand over a draft copy of the book to Ghose or publish it. He added that the then UPA government wanted to add more details in the book but the proposal was turned down by the High Court. He said that he had written to the Modi but no work has been done.
This comes after the Government of India decided to observe Netaji Subash Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary on 23 January every year as Parakram Diwas. The Centre announced its move to pay tribute to the freedom fighter to inspire the youth of the nation to ‘act with fortitude in the face of adversity’. Ahead of Netaji’s 125th birth anniversary, the Ministry of Culture issued a circular announcing 23 January to be observed as Parakram Diwas every year from now on. Soon after, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that the birth anniversary of Netaji will be celebrated as ‘Desh Nayak Diwas’ annually. A train has since been renamed to Netaji Express.
Amid long-standing claims that successive Indian National Congress (INC) governments had since Independence attempted to sideline Netaji Bose and his efforts in India’s freedom struggle, in 2015, the Modi government declassified 33 files relating to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, with digital copies of 100 files being released by Narendra Modi in January 2016. Last year in December, the Modi government de-classified all records related to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Azad Hind Fauj and placed them in the National Archives of India, Minister of State of Culture and Tourism, Prahlad Singh Patel informed.
A total of 304 declassified records/files have been transferred to National Archives of India for permanent retention. Out of 304 flies, 303 files are already uploaded on the Netaji web portal. The National Archives of India is the custodian of declassified files and records of the Government of India. Earlier, in 1997 the National Archives of India had received 990 declassified files pertaining to the Azad Hind Fauj from the Ministry of Defence.
In 2018, Modi visited Andaman and Nicobar Islands and joined the programme to mark 75th anniversary of hoisting Tricolour by Netaji Bose – renaming Ross Island as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, Neil Island as Shaheed Dweep and the Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep. Recently, in January 2019, a Netaji museum was inaugurated by Modi at Red Fort, New Delhi. The Modi government had inculcated 4 INA veterans in its Republic Day parade in 2019- marking a first.