There are few controversies that have continued to be part of discussions in India, as much as those surrounding Subhash Chandra Bose's death. The real timing and cause of his demise have been shrouded in mystery ever since it was reported to have occurred in 1945.
The fact that many files related to his death had been classified till very recently has not helped. The leader who is also called Netaji by many had been reported to have died in a plane crash before independence in Taiwan.
This narrative has been highly contested by many of his followers including members of this family. And the issue had even garnered enough attention to be used by various parties during election time, with the likes of BJP promising to declassify government files related to his life and death, which it eventually did.
But now with the latest reply by the union government related to the matter made public, the controversy still does not show any signs of dying out. In the reply, the government has concluded that Netaji died in the plane crash as reported earlier.
In a reply to an RTI query, the government has reported having said, "After considering the reports of Shahnawaz Committee, Justice G D Khosla Commission and Justice Mukherjee Commission of Enquiry, the Government has come to the conclusion that Netaji has died in plane crash in 1945.''
There have been various many theories and stories related to the leader having survived the crash and even using it as a way to avoid capture from the British and its allies. Names and photos of various people have been circulated pointing to the leader living out the rest of his days in disguise.
To these, the government has responded, as it has said, "Some information regarding Gumnami Baba and Bhagwanji is available in Mukherjee Commission report on page 114-122. This report is available in mha.nic.in. Mukherjee Commission had come to the conclusion that Gumnami Baba/Bhagwanji was not Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Ministry of Home Affairs has declassified all available files (37) relating to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.''
But Netaji's family does not seem to be content with the stand that the current government has taken. Netaji's grandnephew and vice president of the BJP's Bengal unit, Chandra Bose, has reportedly said, "This is irresponsible move... How can the government conclude Netaji's death without concrete evidence?''
He has called the latest reply as highly objectionable and has said the family and he would take up the matter with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi as according to him, "It is he who declassified files after 70 years. During our meeting, he promised us to take the investigations to its logical conclusion and solve the mystery.''
He has also questioned the decision to conclude the matter by the government as the discussion process related to the matter is ongoing with the prime minister. "The declassified files are to be scrutinised. The Mukherjee Commission was set up because the reports of other committees and commissions were not conclusive,'' he is reported to have said.
"Mukherjee Commission clearly stated that Netaji did not die in the plane crash and went to China or Russia. Congress rejected the Mukherjee Commission report on political grounds,'' he reportedly added.
The latest stand of the government had been conveyed in a reply to the RTI query filed by the Open Platform for Netaji spokesperson Sayak Sen in March. And Sen has expressed shock at the government's conclusion, as he is reported to have said, "Had the government reached a conclusion, then why this process of declassifying files to know what happened to Netaji,'' said Sen. And he added, "We were fighting to know the truth because there is no conclusive evidence of his death in the plane crash.''
It is also reported that the family will take out a rally in Kolkata on August 18 and in Delhi in October to demand more action by the government. Many including a majority of Netaji's family members and a large section of researchers have continuously said that they do not believe that the leader died in the plane crash.