Netaji Files: 50 More Declassified, What About Those in Shiroganedai?

While the series of declassification of files pertaining to Netaji are being declassified and released in bonhomie by the BJP government, it is intriguing to note that there is no word about the files in Japanese which were stuck in the cup boards of Indian embassy buildings in Tokyo, especially in the old Shiroganedai house of Indian Charge de Affaires (Minister).

Located at 5-13-42, Shiroganedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108 0071, the old building was the residential complex for the deputy chief of mission in Japan for a long time and even former NSA Shivshankar Menon lived there. It had many bundles of papers in Japanese stacked in its backyard for a long time. It is time to bring those papers back to National Archives of India, since the government is opening Netaji Files in a spree.

Otherwise, the government has released second set of 50 declassified files relating to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Online on Web Portal by Minister of Culture Mahesh Sharmaon Tuesday, March 30, 2016, which consisted of 10 files from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), 10 files from Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), and 30 files from Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) pertaining to the period 1956 to 2009.

The First lot of 100 files relating to Netaji, after their preliminary conservation treatment and digitization, was put in the public domain by the government on 23 January 2016, on the occasion of the 119th birth anniversary of Netaji.

Apart from these 150 Netaji Files, the National Archives has 990 declassified files it received in 1997 pertaining to the Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj) from the Ministry of Defence, and in 2012, 1030 files/ items pertaining the Khosla Commission (271 files/ items) and Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry (759 files/ items) from the Ministry of Home Affairs. All these files/ items are already open to the public under the Public Records Rules, 1997.

Another revelation is that the War Crime Tribunal in Tokyo did not name Subhas Chandra Bose a war criminal as against the popular belief that Nehru’s administration sought to profess. When a man named CC Chatterji of Lucknow sought clarification from the ministry of external affairs (MEA) on January 2, 1964, the Indian embassy in Tokyo confirmed the truth saying, “We have made inquiries with the Japanese Foreign Offices and academic circles here who have given a tentative confirmation that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was not declared a war criminal. The question does not arise because he was never captured by the allies.”

Even the permanent mission to the UN confirmed that Netaji’s name never appeared in the list of people tried for war crimes. “It is presumed that the reference to the judgment of the International Court in Tokyo is a reference to the judgment of International Military Tribunal of the Far East delivered on November 4, 1948. There does not appear to have any direct connection between the work of United Nations War Crime Commission and the work of this tribunal. From the judgment of the tribunal, it does not appear that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose`s name figured in that list of person tried,” the country’s permanent mission to UN said.

Meanwhile, the Faizabad district administration has opened the boxes belonging to “Gumnami Baba”, whom many people believe was Netaji incognito who lived in isolation due to the war criminal tag.


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