In April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met Bose’s grandnephew Surya Bose in Berlin and promised to examine the request for declassification of all files related to events since Netaji’s death or disappearance in Taiwan on August 18, 1945. Surya had told ToI, “I urged the PM to release the classified files on Netaji. He was extremely positive and promised to personally look into the declassification of the documents,” and requested Modi to ‘right a wrong propagated’ by Congress. – ET
Testifying before the Central Information Commission, the final appellate authority for the Right to Information Act, the PMO said it held the files related to Netaji but would not declassify them, citing Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act that allows the government to withhold information disclosure of which would, among other things, prejudicially affect relation with foreign states. The CIC has reserved its order.
In April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met Bose’s grandnephew Surya Bose in Berlin and promised to examine the request for declassification of all files related to events since Netaji’s death or disappearance in Taiwan on August 18, 1945. Surya had told ToI, “I urged the PM to release the classified files on Netaji. He was extremely positive and promised to personally look into the declassification of the documents,” and requested Modi to ‘right a wrong propagated’ by Congress.
The commission was hearing an appeal filed by RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal who had sought copies of all files related to Netaji’s disappearance from PMO. He had also asked for copies of requests and the action taken by the government on them.
PMO rejected his application and Agrawal moved the Central Information Commission. During the CIC hearing Agrawal expressed doubt that the government was being secretive because Netaji’s files had been destroyed or lost. The PMO has categorically denied that any file had been destroyed. Agrawal urged the CIC to seek written submission on rejection of declassification plea from the PMO but it was turned down by chief information commissioner Vijai Sharma who has reserved his order in the matter. Contesting the PMO’s decision to withhold the files before the commission, Agrawal cited Section 8(2) of the RTI Act that allows exempted records to be disclosed if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests. He claimed that foreign relations cannot be affected because Bose allegedly went missing 70 years ago.
Section 8(3) of the RTI Act allows disclosure of information withheld under Section 8(1), as is the present case, if the information related to any event which happened 20 years before the request is made, “Provided that where any question arises as to the date from which the said period of twenty years has to be computed, the decision of the Central Government shall be final, subject to the usual appeals provided for in this Act.” – The Economic Times, 28 August 2015
Subhas Chandra Bose’s family, still awaiting a response from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over declassifying files on the “mystery” surrounding Netaji, has approached the UK asserting it has the relevant documents on him.
Netaji’s grandnephew Surya Kumar Bose, who had met PM Modi on the issue during his visit here in April, said he had written a letter to him days after the meeting but is yet to receive any response.
Asked about Modi government’s approach on the issue, Surya said he was hopeful on securing “closure” to the “mystery” over the issue.
“I am hopeful because I think Modi has the guts to do it and I have told him quite frankly that we are ready to face whatever comes out, whether it is positive or negative or whatever it is. We have to face the music. Because we have been asking for it,” he said.
The family has approached the UK government, asserting that it has classified files on him besides Japan and Russia. “My sister who has a base in London has approached the British government to declassify the files. They have admitted that they have files. But they have to go through them in detail. They have asked for more time. So that means they have files on Subhash Bose which are classified,” Surya told PTI Berlin.
Surya said the issue is being taken up with governments of Japan and America and that the family was determined to get to the bottom of it notwithstanding whatever comes out of the declassification of the files.
Surya claimed that governments of Russia, Japan and the United States have information about Netaji and that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had their files open on him till 1985.
“I do not think opening up of those files will create issues with any present government. You cannot blame the present government for what had happened in 1945-46,” he said.
Surya said it was “high time” the mystery surrounding Bose is brought to a close.
Asked when the family approached the British authorities, he did not specify but indicated it was approached recently.
He said the Indian government must request the foreign governments to share the details about Bose with it.
Toeing the line adopted by the previous UPA government, Prime Minister Modi’s Office in February had refused to declassify the files relating to Bose.
The PMO on Wednesday had told the Central Information Commission that it cannot declassify files related to Bose as it will adversely affect relations with foreign countries.
The fate of the freedom fighter, who led the Indian National Army (INA), is not known after his plane crashed in Taiwan in 1945. – NDTV, 30 August 2015
Filed under: geopolitics, india, indian government, narendra modi, subhas chandra bose | Tagged: central information commission, death of netaji, PMO, RTI, subhas chandra bose, subhash chandra agrawal |