Prime Minister Office’s denial to share details of three classified files related to widows and daughter of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on Friday had its echo in Rajya Sabha with a member asking about the “exact nature of threat” from the disclosure.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Kunal Ghosh (Trinamool Congress) said the Prime Minister’s Office has recently refused to share details of three files related to widows and daughter of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose to an applicant Chandrachur Ghose under the RTI Act of 2005.
He said the PMO refused the request to share details of file numbers - 2/67/56-71 (volume I), 2/67/56-71 (volume II) and, 2/67/78 on the ground that this would prejudicially affect relation with foreign countries and also the sovereignty and integrity of India.
“Could the honourable Prime Minister and Home Minister kindly inform the House as to the exact nature of the threat to our sovereignty, national integrity and relationship with foreign countries that the government is apprehensive of on account of information on a national hero...,” he asked.
Mr. Ghosh noted that the PMO had earlier submitted to the Central Information Commission that it holds 33 classified files including these three.
“Even earlier, in 2007, despite an order of the CIC, the Ministry of Home Affairs refused to disclose all documents pertaining to the Shah Nawaz Committee (1956), and the G D Khosla Commission (1970-74), which investigated the mysterious disappearance of Netaji on the ground that it would lead to “serious law and order problem in the country, especially in West Bengal,” the TMC member said.
Mr. Ghosh also rued that even six decades after Independence, India does not have a proper declassification policy for historical documents and hence the declassification exercise remains ad hoc and depends on whims of concerned ministries.
“We have no information about last days of Netaji,” he said.
Turning down an RTI appeal, the Prime Minister’s Office had said that releasing secret files about Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s widow Emilie Schenkl and daughter Anita Bose may upset relations with foreign countries.
Mr. Ghose who runs website www.subhaschandrabose.org had appealed under the RTI Act to provide access to letters written by Netaji’s widow and daughter to the government.
When under house arrest by the Britishers, Netaji had escaped from India in 1941 to seek international support for India’s freedom struggle. After organising the Indian National Army with Japanese help he went missing in 1945, giving birth to India’s most debated and puzzling mystery.
The Mukherjee Commission had rejected the opinion that he died in a plane crash in Taiwan on August 18, 1945.