Scores of admirers of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose today visit Japan's Renkoji Temple to mourn his "death anniversary", but his family in Kolkata has decided to observe "Declassification Day" from this year demanding that all the secret files related to his death be made public.
Seeking declassification of all the secret files and documents related to the mystery about the fate of the nationalist leader, who went missing in 1945, the family has started observing August 18 as "Declassification Day" from this year.
Netaji's grandnephew Surya Kumar Bose, who has recently visited Renkoji temple where Netaji's purported ashes are kept, said, "His admirers from different parts of Japan pay a visit to the temple each year to pay homage to the leader."
"So far, we have never observed the day as we don't believe that he died on August 18. There is circumstantial evidence to prove that he was in Russia after that date in 1945. But now we have started observing this day as declassification day to put pressure on the government to make public the hidden files on his life," the family spokesperson Chandra Kumar Bose told PTI. To mark the occasion, they held a public meeting in Kolkata where they appealed all political parties to come forward and support the cause.
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 mystery.
He was last seen at the Bangkok Airport on 17th August 1945, since then no news of his whereabouts has been confirmed. The Mukherjee Commission formed by the Centre had rejected the opinion that he died in a plane crash in Taiwan on August 18, 1945.
Even Suresh Bose, one of the older brothers of Netaji and a member of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Inquiry Committee, had stated on oath before his death in 1972 that his brother was alive at the time. "There was never any direct evidence for Netaji's death. On the contrary, all circumstantial evidence show that he was on his way to Soviet Russia, the only place he could hope to find sanctuary," says researcher Anuj Dhar, whose controversial book "India's biggest cover-up" started the momentum for declassification.
In an earlier disclosure under the RTI appeal made by 'Mission Netaji', a Delhi-based research trust, the PMO had admitted that it was holding 33 secret files concerning Netaji.
"If all these files are made public, we would not only know what happened to him after 1945 but it would also add a fresh dimension to India's history as information about his life and times are missing," Bose, Netaji's grandnephew said.
Earlier this year, the Bose family wrote to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Odhisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and even met Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi seeking their intervention in the matter. None of them have so far come forward in helping the family.