KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday declassified all files of cabinet meetings of a decade just before independence and reiterated her demand that the Central government make public all the files related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
“We are releasing the cabinet papers from 1938 to 1947. There were 401 cabinet meetings held during that crucial period and there are 438 important documents including the direct action plan of the then government. The events during that decade, include the Quit India movement, the Bengal famine of 1943, and the ‘Great Calcutta Killings’ in 1946. I am going to New Delhi with CDs which I will give to President Pranab Mukherjee, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha,” Mamata announced.
She reiterated her demand to declassify the 131 files on Netaji in the custody of the Union Home Ministry and said, “Promises were made before the Lok Sabha polls that the files would be made public. I feel if I make a poll pledge, I must fulfil it as the people want to know the truth.” Mamata also supported the demand of former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri’s family to declassify files related to him and the mystery surrounding his death at Tashkent in erstwhile Soviet Union.
By making these files public, Mamata hopes to woo Muslim voters, who account for 29 per cent of the electorate, in the state that goes to polls next year. “We started digitising the files since 2013 and are digitising the files related to post-independence which also will be made public soon. We believe in transparency and will place the truth before the people. It is history now and people have the right to know,” she said. Taking an indirect dig at PM Narendra Modi, she claimed, “We are not paying lip service to ‘Digital India’ but doing our job. The concept of providing free WiFi services at railway stations was mooted by me when I was the railway minister.”
All the declassified papers would be placed for public viewing at the Calcutta Information Centre and CDs would be available for historians and researchers. During the British regime, the first PM of undivided Bengal was Sher-e-Bangla Fazlul Haque of the Krishak Praja Party.