Netaji's daughter calls for DNA testing

Netaji’s daughter Anita Bose Pfaff with husband Martin Pfaff in front of her father’s statue in Bengaluru. File Photo: PTI

Netaji’s daughter Anita Bose Pfaff with husband Martin Pfaff in front of her father’s statue in Bengaluru. File Photo: PTI

While welcoming the declassification of documents relating to Subhas Chandra Bose, his daughter, Anita Pfaff, from his marriage to Emilie Schenkl, says the controversy over his death can be put to rest only if a DNA test is done on his remains, believed to be in the Renkoji temple in Japan.

She is likely to make the request to the Union government during a visit to India in February.

Ms. Pfaff, 73, told The Hindu from her home in Augsburg, Germany, that she did not have a chance to look at the declassified files yet. “The documents must have something of importance to say about him; otherwise, why would they have been classified for over 70 years.”

She believes the theory that her father died in an air crash in 1945.

“The evidence is still not watertight and I am not surprised, because how can you expect it to be? The crash happened three days before Japan capitulated, at a time of great upheaval and uncertainty,” she said.

Ms. Pfaff says that DNA samples could be taken from the remains of the bones buried in the temple.

“It could be that they are not my father’s, but that still does not necessarily disprove the theory that he died in an air crash.”

She says that she personally wrote to the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh twice requesting that the Indian government initiate the process with the Japanese government, but received no response.

On the political crossfire in India over the declassification, Ms Pfaff said that the issue may well become ammunition for parties, especially in the context of elections in West Bengal this year, “but declassification was long overdue and had to be done”.

Ashis Ray, a London-based journalist who has uploaded the evidence of the last days of Bose on his site, has welcomed the declassification, while supporting the demand for DNA testing.

On the letter written by Nehru to British PM Clement Attlee calling Bose a “war criminal”, Mr. Ray said that Nehru “never wrote such a letter.”

“It was fabricated by mischievous pro-Bose anti-Nehru elements on Calcutta,” he told The Hindu .

On Bose’s controversial alliance with the Nazis, Ms. Pfaff says, “He had no choice.”

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Printable version | Jun 27, 2022 4:56:38 pm |