Netaji Bose


Now, Mamata to release 1937-47 cabinet minutes

Times of India

After the Netaji files, chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday indicated that the Bengal government would make public next week the minutes of the cabinet meetings from 1937-47 — the crucial pre-Independence decade when a young and radical Subhas Chandra Bose shot into global limelight before disappearing in the final days of World War II.

Ruing that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's contribution and legacy haven't been assessed properly, Mamata told the assembly that the Centre should follow the state's example and open up the files it has on the freedom fighter. "We have declassified 64 Netaji files. The immense contribution of Netaji has not been evaluated properly. We feel that the Centre should follow us and declassify the files," Mamata said, adding that her government would also digitize files of cabinet decisions taken by the British administration between 1937 and 1947. Sources said this could be done as early as next Monday.

Blog: ​Centre must follow Mamata Banerjee's example and lift the veil on Netaji files

Purabi Roy, historian, author and Netaji researcher, said, "This is a very interesting move and should throw light on how the pre-Independence governments perceived Netaji. More importantly, if they had knowledge of his whereabouts between 1941 and 1943 and of course, post-1945 when he disappeared. In 1941, Netaji had fled Kolkata and was in touch with communists. Bose and the communists were then under surveillance. He was very close to Ajoy Ghosh, Vasavpunnaiyya and Baldev Singh, who was a former Gadar Party member. Singh had helped fund Netaji's passage to Afghanistan, from where he had sneaked into Europe in April, 1941. It would be interesting to know if the Bengal cabinet had knowledge of the flight and whether it had been keeping track. Similarly, whether Netaji's journey back to south-east Asia had been taken note of or discussed."

Under pressure, the state BJP responded by claiming that the Centre will declassify its Netaji files and is only taking time because of the international ramifications. BJP state president Rahul Sinha said, "The files related to Netaji are related to several nations, which is why the Centre is taking time to declassify them. But the files will be made public." Sinha took a dig at Trinamool Congress for "indirectly doing politics" over declassification. "It is their ploy to win next year's assembly elections by riding the emotions linked with the great leader," he said.

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If those files were declassified "nothing will happen to BJP, but both Congress and the communists will be embarrassed", Sinha said. And it will "disappoint Trinamool", he added. Sinha's statement came after Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said the Centre will decide soon whether it would declassify the Netaji files.

During the 2014 Lok Sabha election, BJP had made declassification of Netaji files a poll plank but it has been non-committal so far. In October, over 50 members of Bose's family will meet the Prime Minister to seek release of all Netaji files with the Centre and Japan, Russia and China.