Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of Bengal, said today that she was shocked by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s “hurtful tweet” on legendary freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, who is believed by many to have lived even after the reports of his death in an air crash in Taiwan in 1945.
Netaji’s grand-nephew Chandra Bose, who joined the BJP just before the Bengal election earlier this year, has demanded an apology from Mr Jaitley. The tweet, which is now missing from Mr Jaitley’s Twitter timeline, paid tribute to Netaji on his “death anniversary” and was interpreted as the first acknowledgement from the government that the iconic leader died in the crash on 18 August, 1945.
Mamata Banerjee was among the first to react. Netaji’s death became one of India’s biggest mysteries and remains an emotional subject in Bengal. Two government inquiries concluded that Netaji died in the air crash but a third disagreed.
A section of historians and Bose family members believe that he died in the air crash, but many others refuse to believe it and insist that he escaped to continue his fight against British rule in India and was somehow silenced by the Congress leadership at the time.
There is one theory that Netaji lived out his last few years in Faizabad as one “Gumnami Baba”. The debate intensified recently when some secret files on Netaji became public and indicated that the Jawaharlal Nehru government spied on his family after his ‘disappearance’.
In September last year, Mamata Banerjee made public 65 files on Netaji. On cue, the Centre also started making public more files. Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with members of the Bose family last October and assured them he would seek cooperation from other countries – UK and Russia among them – for more secret files on the freedom fighter.