Why is Aug 18 being marked as Netaji’s death anniversary, ask kin

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BY SOUDHRITI BHABANI
Kolkata, Aug 18 (IANS)
Some family members of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and activists are not happy with many politicians, including senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, observing August 18 as the death anniversary of the redoubtable freedom fighter.
“It is absolutely false… there is no question of observing the date as Netaji’s death anniversary. Even the Justice Mukherjee Commission has also said that Netaji did not die in the plane crash,” contended Netaji’s grandnephew and activist Indraneel Mitra.
August 18 marks the 75th death anniversary of Netaji amid controversies even now as many refuse to believe that he died in the plane crash. These people think that Netaji had survived and lived till old age in hiding, and that his death remains an unsolved mystery.
“The theory of the plane crash was imposed by Jawaharlal Nehru and his associates to secure his political position as the Prime Minister of India. He had declared Netaji a war criminal, then imposed the air crash theory of Netaji on the entire nation when there was no official information to substantiate the accident,” Mitra alleged, adding that he is “extremely disappointed” to see people observing August 18 as the freedom fighter’s death anniversary.
Mitra also alleged that the Central government had spied for over two decades on the family of Netaji to secure the political interests of a particular family.
Ever since the August 18, 1945 plane crash in Taiwan, there have been multiple theories about how Netaji dodged death and went on to live incognito or died in some other way.
Author and Netaji researcher Dr. Jayanta Chowdhury said that it is “annoying” to know that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal paid tribute to Netaji on his death anniversary. He said many senior BJP leaders like Kailash Vijayvargiya and others also paid respect to Netaji on social media, marking the day as his death anniversary.
He said that Justice Mukherjee Commission of Enquiry had said: “As regards the ancillary query (vide paragraph 3 of the notification), the commission is of the view – consequent upon its above findings – that in undertaking the scrutiny of publications touching upon the question of death or otherwise of Netaji, the Central Government can proceed on the basis that he is dead but did not die in the plane crash, as alleged.”
Chowdhury said that the commission’s version “clearly nullified the air crash logic”. “I don’t know why the leaders and members of the current government have also started believing in the same flawed theory,” he added.
Netaji’s great-grandniece Rajashree Choudhury also told IANS that there was no question of ashes and the resurrection of the plane crash theory again. “Netaji met several people after that, as per declassified files, including Nikhil Chattopadhayay, son of revolutionary Virendranath Chattopadhayay, in 1968 at Russia’s Omsk,” she claimed.
A declassified Prime Minister’s Office file had an affidavit filed by Narendranath Sindkdar, a writer-journalist who was based in Moscow between 1966 and 1991, claiming that Chattopadhyay and his wife had met Bose in the Siberian town 23 years after he was apparently killed in a plane crash, she said.
“Filed before the Mukherjee Commission in 2000, Sindkdar’s affidavit quoted Chattopadhyay as saying that Bose was in hiding in Russia for he feared being prosecuted as a war criminal in India,” Choudhury said.
Netaji’s great-grandniece said there were several radio speeches of Netaji after August 18, 1945. She said that above all, Netaji’s elder brother Suresh Chandra Bose’s dissent report in one of the earliest inquiries said that his brother never died in an air crash as there was no plane which took off or landed in Taihaku on August 18.

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