Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mission Netaji ignores foreign policy issues at stake in declassifying files, criticizes Modi office for being casual

Bose with Japanese PM Hideki Tojo at Shonan, Japan, 1944
By Our Representative
An online petition, floated by Mission Netaji, one of the most prolific organizations campaigning for declassifying secret documents related with Subhas Chandra Bose, even as criticizing the Government of India for being “most casual” in taking any steps towards releasing the files, has refused to touch the crucial issue: What are the foreign relations with other countries that would be harmed in case these are declassified.
Addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the online petition, centring around mystery of the death of Netaji, says, the files are not being declassified even though the Mission Netaji had “specifically addressed” to him in May about this, soon after he came to power.
“We wrote to you again on the same matter on August 13, 2014. This time the response of your office was silence”, it added.
Ever since, the petition says, Modi’s office “has continued the policy of the previous governments, refusing to declassify files on Netaji.” It adds, “This has happened despite your assurances to the contrary.”
Going singularly into the need to “investigate” into circumstances of the death of Netaji, the petition, however, is quiet about why the NDA government asserts that declassifying the files may undermine India’s relations with foreign countries. The previous UPA government, too, held a similar view for not declassifying the files.
While there is little speculation among Netaji protagonists about what could be the foreign policy issues which might be at stake, already there have been strong indications on how Bose overlooked Japanese atrocities during the World War-II, including on the Andamans islands, which were captured by the Indian National Army with Japanese support.
In an article in “The Tribune”, Chandigarh, titled “The Unknown Massacre at Andamans” (December 12, 1998), Mohinder Singh Dhillon had written how “of the total population of 40,000 in Port Blair, 30,000 were annihilated”.
Dhillon underlined, “Posterity will ask uncomfortable questions about the vandalism of the Japanese and the role played by them for the freedom of India in collaboration with Subhas Chandra Bose. Ironically, Bose was in Port Blair on December 29-31, 1943. He visited the cellular jail where Diwan Singh, the president of the Indian Independence League and hundreds of his companions were languishing, but he did not visit them.”
He added, “After wining, dining and dancing in the Ross Island he went back to Singapore. This is how Tojo helped Bose to get freedom for India from the British.” These facts, say observers, should be enough to discredit Bose and put him close to Japanese fascists and an opponent of the Allies – the British, the Americans and the Russians.
Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju, currently the chief campaigner against Bose, has told Counterview that there cannot be any doubt, Netaji knew of atrocities by fascists – both by Japanese and Germans – during the World War-II.
Markandey Katju
According to Katju, the Japanese were “using Bose to defeat the British for this purpose. If they had defeated the British and conquered India, their utility of Bose would have been over, and then they would either have bumped him off, or made him a puppet ' Head of State ', the way they made the last Chinese Emperor Pu Yi head of Manchukuo.”
Katju wonders, “When Japan surrendered in 1945 Bose also gave up the fight against the British. Why did he not start a guerilla war against the British, the way the Chinese fought against the Japanese? The fact that he did not shows there was nothing in the man.”
Pointing out how Bose went to Germany and “hobnobbed with those monsters Hitler and Himmler and offered to raise an army of captured Indian soldiers to collaborate with the Nazis”, Katju questions those who say that Bose did not know of the terrible deeds of the Nazis.
Katju says, “He went to Germany in 1941 or 1942, though the hideous persecution of the Jews had been going on since 1933 when Hitler came to power. In November 1938 the Kristalnacht (Crystal Night) was organized by the Nazis in which thousands of Jews were murdered and hundreds of their synagogues were burnt.”
Pointing out that this was “publicly done”, Katju says, “It cannot be believed Bose was unaware of it”, adding, “When the Nazis did not show much interest in his fantastic schemes, he became a collaborator of the Japanese fascists.”
Yet, Mission Netaji’s online petition believes, Modi is “without doubt aware that the issue of Netaji's fate has troubled generations of Indians”, wondering, why – despite his office being aware of the existence of “several classified files on Netaji”, they are being “kept secret.”
It demands announcement of the “acceptance of the finding of the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry which had submitted its report in 2006 that Netaji did not die in a plane crash in 1945”, adding, “officials at all levels” should be directed “to search for all Netaji-related records, secret or otherwise, including those held by the intelligence agencies and make them public.”
Those who have floated the petition on behalf of Mission Netaji include Anuj Dhar, author and former journalist, who has published several books on the death of Subhas Chandra Bose which occurred on August 18, 1945, along with three other its founder members – Chandrachur Ghose, Netaji, Sayantan Dasgupta and Sreejith Panickar.

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