Netaji Files: 50 More Declassified, Not Those in Shiroganedai House of India?

While the series of declassification of files pertaining to Netaji are being declassified and released in bonhomie by the BJP government, it is intriguing to note that there is no word about the files in Japanese which were stuck in the cup boards of Indian embassy buildings in Tokyo, especially in the old Shiroganedai house where the Indian Charge d’ Affaires quarters is located and scores of files are buried in its garage.

Otherwise, the government has released second set of 50 declassified files relating to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Online on Web Portal by Minister of Culture Mahesh Sharmaon Tuesday, March 30, 2016, which consisted of 10 files from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), 10 files from Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), and 30 files from Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) pertaining to the period 1956 to 2009.

The First lot of 100 files relating to Netaji, after their preliminary conservation treatment and digitization, was put in the public domain by the government on 23 January 2016, on the occasion of the 119th birth anniversary of Netaji.

Apart from these 150 Netaji Files, the National Archives has 990 declassified files it received in 1997 pertaining to the Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj) from the Ministry of Defence, and in 2012, 1030 files/ items pertaining the Khosla Commission (271 files/ items) and Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry (759 files/ items) from the Ministry of Home Affairs. All these files/ items are already open to the public under the Public Records Rules, 1997.

Here are some of the secrets unveiled with the latest declassification of the files:

Pakistan Angle: Upon India’s request during Indira Gandhi’s time, Pakistan’s then information secretary Altaf Gauhar had agreed to help New Delhi, on a condition that everything would be confidential. The request was made as the freedom fighter’s trip in 1941 was through Peshawar, Kabul, Tashkent, Moscow and Berlin. Gauhar was very close to ex-Pakistan president Ayub Khan and the nod must be having Ayub Khan’s approval.

Tokyo War Crime Tribunal: The War Crime Tribunal in Tokyo did not name Subhas Chandra Bose a war criminal as against the popular belief that Nehru sought to keep Netaji’s name out of the entire trial. A man named CC Chatterji of Lucknow wrote to the ministry of external affairs (MEA) on January 2, 1964 sought a panel to probe into this aspect but neither the MEA nor the defence ministry moved ahead in this regard.Finally, the Indian embassy in Tokyo confirmed the truth saying, "We have made inquiries with the Japanese Foreign Offices and academic circles here who have given a tentative confirmation that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was not declared a war criminal. The question does not arise because he was never captured by the allies."

Even the permanent mission to the UN confirmed that Netaji’s name never appeared in the list of people tried for war crimes. "It is presumed that the reference to the judgment of the International Court in Tokyo is a reference to the judgment of International Military Tribunal of the Far East delivered on November 4, 1948. There does not appear to have any direct connection between the work of United Nations War Crime Commission and the work of this tribunal. From the judgment of the tribunal, it does not appear that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose`s name figured in that list of person tried," the country’s permanent mission to UN said.

Meanwhile, the Faizabad district administration has opened the boxes belonging to "Gumnami Baba", whom many people believe was Netaji incognito who lived in isolation due to the war criminal tag.

The MEA and the Embassy of India in Tokyo should now concentrate on releasing the files in Japanese in its possession so that they can be translated and deciphered by researchers to know the details of Netaji’s stay in Tokyo.

[tags, netaji files, declassified files, released, online, tokyo records, mea, un permanent commission, national archives, released,,]

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