West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention for declaring Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s birthday on January 23 as national holiday. She also urged Modi to personally see that the Centre takes appropriate steps to give a conclusive picture on the freedom fighter’s disappearance on August 18, 1945.
“Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose has a special place in our hearts. I would like to request your kind personal intervention to see that the Central Government declared 23rd January, Netaji’s birthday, a National Holiday and also takes appropriate steps to give conclusive steps to give conclusive position to the issue relating to the disappearance of Netaji…(sic)” the CM wrote. In her two-page-long letter, Banerjee emphasised that the state had long been demanding that January 23 be declared a national holiday.
She further requested the PM to give people the “much-awaited opportunity to know what happened to their great leader – their inspiration and their passion”. Born in 1897, Netaji’s 125th birth anniversary will be observed next year.
Several reports have claimed that Netaji boarded a plane from Taihoku Airport in Taiwan which crashed leading to the death of the leader. There is, however, no confirmation on his demise, as experts, over the years, have come up with different theories on his disappearance. The Centre had commissioned three inquiries, – the Shah Nawaz Committee of Inquiry of 1956, the Khosla Commission of 1974, and the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry (JMCI) of 2005 — to shed light on the mysteries surrounding the death or the disappearance of Netaji.
The first two commissions had concluded that Netaji died following a plane crash in Taipei, while the third probe panel contested the claim and suggested that Bose was alive after that. On September 1, 2016, the Narendra Modi government had declassified 100 reports on Bose. Banerjee had in September 2015 made public 64 files related to the freedom fighter.
None, however, could help draw any conclusion.