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RTI makes Netaji rise from 'ashes'

ibnlive.com
Jun 20, 2007 at 06:00am IST

New Delhi: The mystery about Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's death is acquiring a mythical quality.

And now the Ministry of External Affairs has added to the many confusing tales about the fiery leader’s fate.

The MEA has informed the Delhi-based 'Mission Netaji' that the ashes and remains of the leader were still at Renkoji temple in Tokyo.

MYTH AND MYSTERY: At the root of the latest Netaji confusion is a note dateing back to 1954.

At the root of this confusion is a note that dates back to 1954.

The note (details: UO No D/S13170 of 2/12/1954) was written by secretary to the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, M O Mathai and said that "a small amount of Rs 200 odd were received by minister of External Affairs from our Embassy in Tokyo alongwith the ashes and other remains of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose".

It was after getting hold of this note that ‘Mission Netaji’'s Anuj Dhar and Chandrachur Ghosh approached the MEA and PMO in September 2006, seeking explanation.

Both Dhar and Ghosh demanded the PMO officials state the facts vis-a-vis the note under Right to Inforamtion Act.

In their application, Dhar and Ghosh wanted to know whether the ashes and other remains of Netaji were ever received in India by Nehru, who was also the then external affairs minister.

PTI reports that the duo also wanted to know if the ashes were received or disposed off and why was the information withheld from the public at alrge.

A question was also raised about the probability of Netaji's ashes being to remain in Tokyo.

In a letter dated March 2, Additional Secretary in the MEA, Ajai Choudhary informed Mission Netaji that, "as per as the ministry was aware the alleged ashes and remains are still at the Renkoji temple, Tokyo."

“The Indian Liasion mission in Tokyo had conducted some investigation and reported that the ex-president Indian Independence League, Japan, had confirmed to the former director of the Information office of Netaji's Independent government that he himself received the ashes of Netaji in September 1945 and entrusted them to the custody of Renkoji temple," agencies quoted from MEA letter.

Significantly, Choudhary said in his letter "that the chief priest of Renkoji Temple wrote to Jawaharlal Nehru on November 23, 1953 that he has been keeping the of ashes of Netaji since Sepember 18, 1945."

However, the MEA played safe as well. "Such records may be available from Ministry of Home Affairs which is the nodal ministry in respect of the subject under consideration," it said.

This didn’t seem to convince the men, hot on Netaji’s trail. "We can't figure out which version is true because the government response under the RTI have only added confusion surrounding Mathai's note," Dhar was quoted as saying.

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