NEW DELHI — Sugata Bose asked the government on Tuesday at the Lok Sabha to clarify why it put the family of Indian nationalist and freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on surveillance for two decades after independence. The Member of Parliament from Jadavpur in West Bengal, who is also Bose's grandnephew, said that it was "not a family matter" but of "historical importance".
"The government must immediately clarify the reasons and under whose orders the surveillance was carried out, the date on which the surveillance began and the date on which it ended and the reasons for the gross invasion of privacy of the law-abiding citizens and freedom fighters," he said at the parliament. "It is an important national and historical matter that must not be allowed to degenerate into party-political controversies."
Bose also demanded that a decision should be taken "at the highest level" to immediately release all files containing information collected by intelligence agencies that are now more than 50 years old. He said it would "put an end to unnecessary speculation".
Bose said that the surveillance on the freedom fighter's family had been "intrusive", and had also included other freedom fighters connected with the great leader. Bose said that intelligence agencies opened, read, and copied all correspondence between Netaji’s nephew and freedom fighter Sisir Kumar Bose in Kolkata and Netaji’s wife Emily in Vienna.
"There is also evidence that veterans of the Azad Hind Movement, including SA Aiyer, Netaji’s Minister for Publicity, were put under surveillance in Mumbai," said Bose.
The eminent historian also referred to the midnight session on 15 August, 1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of India’s independence. Recalling how the voices of three "iconic leaders" of India’s freedom struggle — that of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose — were played at Central Hall of the Parliament at the time, Bose said, "Let us be respectful towards all of these leaders while we address this issue."
Bose, who is also the Director of the Netaji Research Bureau in Kolkata, said that the freedom fighter's life and work had been to unite all religions of India and that all the linguistic groups of India fought under his leadership.
"To honour Netaji’s memory, let us ensure minorities in India feel safe and secure & that they continue to enjoy equal rights," he said.