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The alleged death of Subhas Chandra Bose, the supreme commander of Azad Hind Fauz and Free India Legion in a plane crash in Taiwanmarker on August 18, 1945, has long been the subject of dispute. The third Indian commission that was appointed for enquiring into this confirmed in its report tabled in parliament in May 2006, that Bose's death was staged to facilitate an escape to the USSRmarker.

Introduction

Subhas Chandra Bose, a prominent leader of the Indian independence movement against the British Raj in India and a general of the Imperial Japanese army Tsunamasa Shidei were reported to be flying to Tokyomarker, Japanmarker when the alleged plane crash occurred at Matsuyama aerodrome in Taihokumarker, northern Formosa (now the Republic of China, or Taiwan). The news was withheld by Japanese governmentmarker for five days before it was announced by Japanese news agency Domei. The Allied forces took the Japanese news as a ploy. The then Viceroy of India, Field Marshal Archibald Wavell, is reported to have noted in his diary that "I wonder if the Japanese announcement of Subhash Chandra Bose's death in an air-crash is true. I suspect it very much, it is just what should be given out if he meant to go underground."


The matter was looked into by several allied intelligence teams and soon holes in the Japanese version became apparent. A crack team of Intelligence Bureau found out that Bose was heading for the USSR with the Japanese assistance.

The findings of the intelligence teams seem to have not confirmed the Japanese announcement. For as late as October 1946, the Government of British India refused to confirm the death of Bose.

After India's independence, the matter was looked into by three official panels formed by the government of India following the public demands. These panels were: Shah Nawaz Committee, Justice GD Khosla Commission & Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry. The Shah Nawaz Committee upheld the Taiwanmarker crash version, as did the Justice GD Khosla Commission, whereas the Mukherjee Commission negated it.

However, it has also been alleged at various times that the Indian government and political leadership was aware that Bose may have been alive, and according to one theory, in captivity in Soviet Unionmarker, but chose to ignore or actively collaborate to suppress this information after Independence.

Shah Nawaz Committee

In April 1956, the formed a committee headed by Shah Nawaz Khan. Khan had earlier risen to the rank of Lt Col in the Second Indian National Army, before he was captured by allied troops after the fall of Azad Hind and was one of the three charged with treason in the the Red Fort Trial. He was thus seen as an appropriate person to head the inquiry. Two other members of the inquiry commission were SN Mitra and Suresh Chandra Bose, Bose's elder brother.The committee's report that Bose had indeed died in Taipei became disputed due to several reasons. The most important among them was the dissientient report of Suresh Bose. Suresh Bose refused to agree with the findings of his colleagues and accused them and the Government of India of trying to coerce him into agreeing with their views.

Justice GD Khosla Commission

Consequently, in June 1970 the Government of India formed a judicial commission headed by Justice GD Khosla, former Chief Justice of Punjab High Court. The decision followed years of lobbying by Indian lawmaker, most notable among them were Professor Samar Guha and Amiya Nath Bose, Subhas Bose's nephew. Unlike Shah Nawaz, GD Khosla visited but refused to interact with the ROC Government. Much before the commission's report was made public June 1974, it came under assault of Samar Guha. This report also stated that Bose had died in Taiwan.

Rejection of Shah Nawaz, Khosla reports

After Emergency was lifted in India, MP Samar Guha fought a political battle in Indian Parliament, where the matter of Bose's death was debated in 1977-78. On August 28, 1978 Prime Minister Morarji Desai stated that there were "various important contradictions in the testimony of the (mostly Japanese) witnesses" to Bose's death. And that "some further contemporary official documentary records have also become available", making the Government of India think that the conclusions reached by GD Khosla and Shah Nawaz Khan were not "decisive".

Mukherjee Commission

The copy of the death certificate in the crematorium records which refers to the alleged corpse of Netaji as being of one Okara Ichiro
In 1999, following a court order, the Government of India formed Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry. It was headed by Justice (rtd) MK Mukherjee of the Supreme Court of India. The commission perused hundreds of files on Bose's death drawn from several countries and also visited Japanmarker, Russiamarker and Taiwanmarker.

Overturning the findings of previous panels, this commission's findings were that the news of Bose's death in Taipei were a cover-up for his escape to the USSR. The Commission, however, stated that they could not confirm Bose's presence in the USSR for want of evidence.

The Mukherjee Commission submitted its report to Indian Home Minister Shivraj Patil on November 8, 2005. The report was tabled in the Indian Parliament on May 17, 2006. However, the Indian Government rejected the findings of the Commission.

Bose mystery in contemporary India

Mission Netaji is a Delhi-based Indian non-profit trust that conducts research on Subhas Chandra Bose's disappearance. Some documents the organisation has dug out have information connected to Bose's disappearance. This lead to more documents that remain classified. Several Indian ministries, including the Indian Prime Minister's Office, have refused to make public the documents under the Right to Information Act campaign lauched by Mission Netaji, on the ground that their disclosure will affect India's relations with foreign countries.

References

  1. http://www.hindustantimes.in/news/specials/Netaji/images/a7.gif Reported Death of Subhash Bose. The Hindustan Time. August 25, 1945. HT Archives.
  2. http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/specials/Netaji/images/nov_17_70.gif Radhakrishnan met Netaji in Moscow, says witness. The Hindustan Times, November 17, 1970. URL Accessed on 11-Aug-06.
  3. Hindustantimes.com - the name India trusts for news
  4. http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/specials/Netaji/images/jan_23_71.gif Gandhi, others had agreed to hand over Netaji. Hindustan Times, January 23, 1971. URL Accessed on 11-Aug-06
  5. http://www.tribuneindia.com/2005/20050612/spectrum/main1.htm Interview with Capt. Lakshmi Sahgal. The Tribune India, Spectrum Suppl Sunday, June 12, 2005 URL accessed 09-Aug-06
  6. Fate of Indian war leader thrown into doubt by new report, The Guardian. London. May 18, 2006. URL accessed on 27/03/2007
  7. http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/002200703080916.htm Netaji's ashes still in Renkoji temple, The Hindu. March 8, 2007
  8. PMO refuses to furnish data on Netaji


Reports submitted by various commissions



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