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Modi will personally look into declassification of Netaji files

Berlin: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured family members of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose that he will personally examine the case for the declassification of the Netaji files.

The prime minister gave this assurance to Surya Bose, the eldest son of Amiya Nath Bose, at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin. Bose, the president of the Indo-German Association in Hamburg, had a half-hour meeting with Prime Minister Modi after a reception in Berlin late on Monday night where he presented a proposal on behalf of the Netaji family requesting the PM to release all the classified 'Netaji Files' held by the government.

"Prime Minister Modi was extremely positive and has promised to personally look into the declassification of the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose documents," Bose told Mail Today. Previous statements on the government's inability to declassify the Netaji files had been made without his knowledge, the PM told Bose.

The meeting with Prime Minister Modi, who is the German leg of his three-nation tour, comes in the wake of sensational revelations by India Today and Mail Today that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) snooped on the Bose family for 20 years.

The Bose family letter, a copy of which is with Mail Today, states that in view of the revelations, it had become 'even more important to declassify all files pertaining to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose'. Declassifying the files, family members believe, could help solve the mystery of Netaji's disappearance.

"The people of India and his admirers and followers worldwide would like to know the truth about what happened to Netaji on and after 18 August 1945, but also any other information that may throw further light on the Indian freedom struggle and its aftermath," the letter states.

Right to Information (RTI) appeals have revealed that the Prime Minister's Office holds 39 secret files relating to Netaji.

The Ministry of Home Affairs claimed in December that the release of the Netaji-related records may prejudicially affect 'relations with a foreign country'. In February this year, the PMO responded to an RTI application stating that the PM had no discretionary powers to declassify the Netaji files.

The PM's assurance in Berlin, the first by a head of government in recent years, has sparked new hope among the Bose family who have pushed for a declassification of all documents.

The proposal from the Bose family, whose co-signatories include Surya Bose's younger siblings Madhuri Bose and Chandra Kumar Bose, also asks for distortions in books on India's freedom struggle to be rectified and the role of freedom fighters like those of the Gadar Party, Rash Behari Bose, Chandrasekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh to be documented.

The Bose family letter also asks for a bust of Netaji to be placed in the premises of India House, the Indian High Commission in London.

The family also reiterated the demand for a Special Investigation Team to be constituted under a leading Supreme Court judge. The SIT would include professionals from the IB, CBI, MEA, historians and researchers. The family has also asked for Netaji's birthday, January 23 to be declared 'Desh Prem Divas'.

  • Published in National

Snooping row: PM meets Netaji's kin in Berlin

BERLIN: Amid a row over snooping on close relatives of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, his grand nephew, Surya Kumar Bose, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday night in Berlin and raised the issue of declassification of all secret files related to the freedom fighter.

Surya Kumar Bose met the Prime Minister after attending a reception hosted in Modi's honour by India's ambassador to Germany Vijay Gokhale.

Surya, also the president of the Indo-German Association in Hamburg, was invited by the Indian embassy to attend the reception for Modi.

Surya later said he had urged the Prime Minister that the papers should be declassified immediately as he was shocked at the recent reports that the government of Jawaharlal Nehru had "spied" upon Netaji's family.

Asked about Modi's response, he said the Prime Minister said he would look into the matter right away as he too felt that the "truth should come out".

Surya attacked the Nehru government, saying it was "shocking" that a government of independent India had spied upon Netaji's family.

"The government should get the truth out," he said. Surya said there should an investigative commission to go into the matter to bring out the truth.

"The government also should stop spreading lies that only non-violence had led to the Independence as it could not be won without the contribution of Subhas Bose," Surya said.

Asked about the earlier commissions of inquiry, he said, "the first two were totally bogus."

He said the Mukherjee Commission had done more but it did not have investigative powers.

Documents reveal Nehru govt shared information on Netaji with Britain's MI5

  • Published in National

Germany marks 25 years since Berlin Wall's fall

Barlin:Germany on Sunday celebrates the 25th anniversary of the night the Berlin Wall fell, a pivotal moment in the collapse of communism and the start of the country's emergence as the major power at the heart of Europe.

A 15-kilometer (nine-mile) chain of lighted balloons along the former border will be released into the air early on Sunday evening - around the time on November 9, 1989 when a garbled announcement by a senior communist official set off the chain of events that brought down the Cold War's most potent symbol.

The opening of East Germany's fortified frontier capped months of ferment across eastern and central Europe that had already ushered in Poland's first post-communist prime minister and prompted Hungary to cut open its border fence. The hard-line leadership in East Berlin faced mounting pressure from huge protests and an exodus of citizens via other communist countries.

The collapse of the Wall, which had divided the city for 28 years, was "a point of no return...from there, things headed toward a whole new world order," said Axel Klausmeier, the director of the city's main Wall memorial.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, is opening an overhauled museum on Sunday at the site - home to one of the few surviving sections of the Wall.

Merkel, 60, who was then a physicist and entered politics as communism crumbled, recalls the feeling of being stuck behind East Germany's border.

"Even today when I walk through the Brandenburg Gate, there's a residual feeling that this wasn't possible for many years of my life, and that I had to wait 35 years to have this feeling of freedom," Merkel said last week. "That changed my life."

The future chancellor was among the thousands who poured westward hours after the ruling Politburo's spokesman, Guenter Schabowski, off-handedly announced at a televised news conference that East Germans would be allowed to travel to West Germany and West Berlin.

Pressed on when that would take effect, Schabowski seemed uncertain but said: "To my knowledge, this is immediately, without delay." Soon, Western media were reporting that East Germany was opening the border and East Berliners were jamming the first crossing.

Border guards had received no orders to let anyone cross, but gave up trying to hold back the crowds. By midnight, all the border crossings in the city were open.

East Germany's then-leader, Egon Krenz, later said the plan was to allow free travel only the next morning so citizens could line up properly to get exit visas. But with the leadership's control over the border well and truly lost, Germany was soon on the road to reunification less than a year later, on Oct. 3, 1990.

Since then, some 1.5 to 2 trillion euros ($1.9 to $2.5 trillion) has gone into rebuilding the once-dilapidated east.

Much has changed beyond recognition, though some inequalities persist.

Wages and pensions remain lower, and unemployment higher, in the east than the west. Many eastern areas saw their population drop as people headed west for jobs, something that is only now showing signs of turning around.

There are cultural differences too: a higher proportion of children are in daycare in the east, a legacy of communist times, and the opposition Left Party - partly descended from East Germany's communist rulers - remains strongest in the east.

But the progress toward true unity is seen in Germany's top leadership: Not only is Merkel from the east, but so is the nation's president, Joachim Gauck, a former Protestant pastor and pro-democracy activist.

Germans today can be grateful to have lives and opportunities, Gauck said, "that endless numbers of people in the world can only desire and dream of."



  • Published in World
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