NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said he would be receiving 50 family members of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose next month but avoided any reference to the demand for declassification of 89 secret files on Netaji locked away in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
In the 12th edition of his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Modi said it was a matter of great joy to host Netaji’s family members at his 7 Race Course Road residence in October. But, his silence on declassifying Netaji files was intriguing as he had promised Netaji’s grandnephew Surya Bose during a meeting in Berlin in April that he will look into the issue seriously.
The issue was raised again in May when Modi, during his visit to Kolkata, had a meeting with Netaji’s grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose and other family members.
“I had decided during the meeting that all the family members of Netaji must come to PM’s residence. Chandra Bose and other family members were looking into it and only last week, I received the confirmation that more than 50 family members of Netaji will be coming to 7 RCR in October. It will be a moment of happiness for me to host such esteemed guests...the bigger happiness is for me as nobody in the Prime Minister’s residence would have got such a chance earlier as I will be getting in October,” the Prime Minister said.
But, surprisingly the Prime Minister skipped the declassification issue which has been raging since Friday after the West Bengal government made public 64 files related to Netaji. Soon after the PM’s radio address, Netaji’s grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose took to Twitter to announce that his family will discuss the issue in the October meeting. “We are very happy that the Hon’ble PM has called us to discuss Netaji files issue,” Chandra Kumar Bose tweeted.
Before coming to power, BJP leaders were of the view that files related to Netaji’s mysterious disappearance must be declassified as people have the right to know about the great leader. In the backdrop of the growing demand to declassify Netaji files, the NDA government in April had formed an inter-ministerial committee with Home Secretary, Law Secretary and DoPT Secretary as members to examine the existing Official Secretas Act clauses for revision.
A total 89 files, 29 with the MEA and 60 in the PMO, are yet to be made public by the Central government, which argues that disclosure of files will adversely affect relations with foreign countries, most likely Russia and the UK.
Decision soon, have patience: rajnath
In the wake of West Bengal government declassifying files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said a decision on files in the Centre’s possession would be made soon. “Keep patience, whatever happens on this issue would be made public soon,” Singh said responding to questions on steps taken over the demands to declassify secret files on the nationalist leader.