BERLIN — Amid a row over snooping on close relatives of Subhas Chandra Bose, his grand nephew has said he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Germany today to demand declassification of all secret files related to the freedom fighter.
"Subhas Bose did not belong just to his direct family. He had himself said that the whole country is his family. I do not think it's just the duty of the family to raise this issue (of declassification of Netaji files)," Surya Kumar Bose, grand nephew of Bose, said.
Wading into the row, Ardhendu Bose, Netaji's nephew, said, "I think it was a bit harsh that they were personally monitoring (family members)."
With the documents revealing that intelligence services and diplomats overseas were told to keep an eye on what they were doing, "probably goes to prove that they knew that Netaji was not dead. They knew that he did not die in an air crash," he said.
"The family feels betrayed. Truth should prevail. All hope that the Indian government will bring out the truth," Ardhendu said.
Surya said, "It is the duty of the people of India to raise the issue. If I do get an opportunity to meet the Prime Minister, talk to him for a few minutes, then I would certainly raise the issue."
Surya, also the president of the Indo-German Association in Hamburg, has been invited by the Indian embassy to attend a reception for Modi here tomorrow.
Another grand nephew of the charismatic leader, Chandra Bose said, "The time has now come to declassify Netaji files. Saying it would affect India's relations with other nations is simply a lame excuse. The Modi government has been talking of transparency and now it is the time to provide transparency by releasing those files which will tell us what happened to Netaji during his last years."
Chandra expressed surprise over the Modi government giving the "same excuse" as the Prime Minister's Office under Manmohan Singh to block declassification of Netaji files.
"The Prime Minister's office under the Manmohan Singh government made a statement saying if they de-classify these files, they would have problems with friendly neighbours. That's a damaging statement," he said.
In an RTI reply, the Prime Minister's Office has refused to declassify secret files relating to Netaji arguing that the "disclosure would prejudicially affect relations with foreign countries."
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