SUBRATA BOSE: Mr Chairman, Sir I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to speak on this motion moved under Rule 193.
Sir, at the outset, I would like to point out to you and all the honourable Members that this is a matter of 60 years old. If one has to understand the issue properly, one has to tell the tale of the last 60 years. In all humility, before I begin, I crave the indulgence of you, Mr Chairman, Sir, the honourable Minister of Home Affairs, the honourable Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and the honourable Members to speak at length on this subject. I shall certainly not repeat what my previous speaker, the honourable Shri Prabodh Panda, has said. I thank him for initiating this discussion. But I will have to give a little background.
When in the first week of August, 1945 the Second World War in the Asian Theatre came to a close after an atom bomb was hurled over Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan resulting in the surrender of Japan, Netaji\\'s Azad Hind Fauz had also to accept the defeat. They were two alternatives before Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at that time. There were two alternative courses of action. One was to surrender to the Anglo-American Forces, and the second was to go to another country, seek asylum and continue to involve himself in the struggle for the freedom of our country. Since surrender was not in his nature, he chose the second alternative. While retreating, when he arrived in Bangkok, he told his associates that he has decided to go to the then Soviet Russia.
He also informed them that the Japanese Government agreed to help him to go to Russia. But Russia also declared war against Japan just after the atom bomb was hurled. So, Japan could not guarantee to take him to Russia. But they offered to take him to Manchuria in north China.
The honourable Members would certainly recall that although China was under the reign of General Chiang Kai-Shek, at that time, officially Manchuria was virtually - even then in 1945 - under the control of the Communist China, under the leadership of Mao Tse Tung. So, he agreed and said: "Yes, you reach me up to Manchuria and then I shall make my way to Russia on my own." He took a great risk. But that was his life. How many times did he take risks for the freedom battle? He escaped from Kolkata during the war, went to Germany traversing throughout North of India, Afghanistan, Soviet Russia and then to Germany. Any day, he could have been captured. Anywhere he could have been captured and that would have been the end of it. He did not bother.
Again, when the World War came to the Asian Theatre, he took that risk of coming from Germany to East Asia in a submarine where any time, any moment, he would have lost his life. But he took the risk. That was his nature. That was his life. He took the risk. From Bangkok, when he left on his way to Russia, he took six of his associates with him including Colonel Habibur Rahman who, in this episode about the alleged air crash, in Taihoku in Taiwan, was the main evidence giver, supporting the theory of death by air accident of Netaji. All the five are no more. But there is one survivor who is Colonel Pritam Singh of the INA who is still alive. He lives near Dehradun. He appeared before the Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry to confirm to the Commission that Netaji was going to Russia. Japan told them that when the plane reached Saigon, they could not accommodate all the Indians including Netaji in one plane. Netaji had to choose one out of those companions and the others would later be taken to Manchuria to join Netaji. The second part never happened. Netaji chose Colonel Habibur Rahman.
From the Japanese Government document, it has been found that there is confirmation that Japan agreed to take him to Russia. It is not only that. This was also an escape plan. So, the plan included that as he left Saigon, Japan would announce that he had died in an air crash.
That was in the plan which has been found in the records of the Japanese Government. But the Japanese Government subsequently mentioned that what was planned unfortunately happened and Netaji actually died in the air crash.
Shri Prabodh Panda had already described how the news was given out by the Government of Japan. According to the Japanese Government, the accident occurred on 18th August, 1945. It took them five days to deliberate and then announce to the world in a cryptic one line that Subhash Chandra Bose had died in an air crash. They did not mention the site on 18th August, 1945. It was later released and very intelligently Mr SA Ayer, about whom Shri Prabodh Panda had already mentioned, was asked to draft a communiqué under their dictation, although I must say that Mr SA Ayer himself has admitted that he was left at Bangkok and he was not one of those associates who was taken. Suddenly he got a message, a very confidential message that Subhas Chandra Bose had died in an air crash in Taiwan and a plane is ready to take him to Taiwan to see his body and be present at the cremation so that he can be a witness.
When he got into the plane, he was under the impression that he was going to Taiwan, but the plane took him to Tokyo. Under the dictates of the Japanese Government, he drafted that communiqué which was released not by the Japanese Government through their own news agency, but through a private news agency, the Domei News Agency. It was picked up by Reuters and Reuters circulated it all over India. In those days, television was not there, the radio also was not that popular and we, in India, read it in the newspaper on 24th August, 1945 morning that shocking news that Subhash Chandra Bose had died in an air crash on 18th August, 1945. The people were stunned. Naturally, any news of this kind would shock the people of India.
What was Mahatma Gandhi\\'s reaction? My father, late Sarat Chandra Bose, was still then in prison. At least, the senior honourable Members of this House would know that he was the closest associate of Netaji both in his private life as well as political life. But his elder brother, the eldest of the sons, Shri Satish Chandra Bose was there. Mahatma Gandhi sent him a telegram. Mahatma Gandhi had always been cryptic. His message was, \\'don\\'t perform shraad\\'. That was the beginning of the doubt.
The British and the American intelligent agents were naturally following Subhas Chandra Bose. This accident was supposed to have occurred in 1945, on 18th August.
On 25th October, 1945, there was a meeting of the British Cabinet in London, which was presided over by the then Prime Minister, Clement Atlee. After the elections, Winston Churchill\\'s Conservative Party lost and the Labour Party came into power, just a little more than two months after that. This is available from a very authoritative book, \\'The Transfer of Power\\', published by the British Government, giving the details of how India gained independence or according to the British how India was granted independence.
This \\'Transfer of Power\\' Volume VI published from Her Majesty\\'s Stationery Service, London, refers to the Minutes and Resolutions of a Cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Atlee, held on 25th October 1945. The Resolution branded Netaji as the only civilian renegade of importance. That is how they described Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. It is not a surprise, Sir. Then, the Cabinet dwelt on the method of how to try him. The question before the Cabinet was whether he should be arrested and tried, where he is arrested or whether he should be arrested and brought to India and tried in India. That is what they wanted to discuss.
In the meantime, the British India Government sent a third question to them. The British India Government suggested that the Cabinet must remember the consequences of trying him. In this context, they put forward a proposal in one of the internal correspondences, which was dated 23rd August 1945, \\'leave him, where he is and do not ask for his surrender\\'. The British India Government, in August 1945, sent this proposal to the British Government.
The Cabinet, at its meeting on 25th October 1945, decided, the only civilian renegade of importance, Subhash Chandra Bose, that it would be better to leave him where he is. So, the British Government even in August 1945 knew that Subhas Chandra Bose was not dead. It is not from any individual, but from the British Government itself.