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Ensuing assembly polls, enclave exchange, Saradha scam ruled Bengal in 2015

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Kolkata: With assembly polls ensuing in West Bengal, the political scenario in the state witnessed a lot of developments. While, after a long wait, 64 files on legendary freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose were declassified, the CBI’s probe on Sarada scam grilled some Trinamool leaders but the party continued its dominance. Furthermore, around 51,000 enclave dweller’s painful stateless existence come to a happy end with the implementation of the accord on the exchange of enclaves.

In a bid to win the elections. Trinamool supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wooed the Muslims, who comprise 27 percent of the state’s population, the CPI-M and the BJP effected a change of guard.

History was made on August 1 as India and Bangladesh implemented the 40-year-old Land Boundary Agreement by exchanging 162 adversely held enclaves, resulting in 14,000 residents of 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in Cooch Behar district becoming Indian citizens.

About 37,000 people, inhabiting 111 Indian enclaves in four Bangladeshi districts got the country’s citizenship.

In another historic step, the Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala bus service was flagged off, reducing travel time between the two Indian cities to less than half.

In September, Banerjee declassified 64 files on Netaji Bose, stressing the need to solve the mystery surrounding his disappearance. Though there was a general feeling that the files made no startling disclosures, it helped Banerjee score some political brownie points and outsmart the BJP-led central government which also promised to make public hitherto secret files on Bose.

However, the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scandal being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on the Supreme Court’s instructions, continued to embarrass the Trinamool.

While former minister and party bigwig Madan Mitra, arrested last December for his complicity in the scam, continues to languish in the jail, the CBI in January grilled Banerjee’s then right-hand man Mukul Roy, sparking cries of “vendetta” and “conspiracy” from the Trinamool.

But with Roy virtually going against the Trinamool line to announce he would “fully cooperate” with the CBI, there was much speculation that the ex-railway minister would either float a new party or join some other outfit.

As Roy started skipping Trinamool meetings, Banerjee stripped him of all his posts and relegated him to the Rajya Sabha back benches. But as the year reached its last lap, there were indications of their mending fences, ahead of the poll year.

The Saradha probe has apparently not dented the Trinamool’s electoral fortunes. The party decimated the opposition in the Bongaon Lok Sabha and Krishnaganj assembly by-polls, easily retained the Kolkata Municipal Corporation board, and romped to victory in district civic body contests.

The BJP, which in 2014 seemed to be emerging as the second largest force, failed to maintain the momentum, with political circles pointing to the absence of a popular face in the state party to sway the masses.

At last in December, the BJP appointed an RSS man, Dilip Ghosh, as its state president, replacing Rahul Sinha, and embarked on a law violation campaign.

Nine months ago, Left Front spearhead CPI-M anointed the comparatively young Surjya Kanta Mishra (66) as its state secretary, in place of the 75-year-old Biman Bose and opted for new leaders in a majority of its committees from the local to the district level.

At the fag end of the year (December 27-31) the CPI-M is holding a plenum after 37 years to assess its organisational strength and decide on its future organisational and political roadmap.

However, though the top leadership is yet to spell out any clear-cut stand, sections in the CPI-M and other LF partners are seeking an electoral understanding with the Congress, arguing that the weakened LF on its own cannot combat the Trinamool.

The Congress is a house divided on the issue. While some leaders favour a tie-up with the Left, a faction wants to ally with the Trinamool – and then there are those who want the party to go it alone.

But Banerjee, apparently to nip in the bud any possibility of a Congress-LF tie-up, openly sided with the Congress when its chief Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi were summoned by a court on an alleged graft case related to the National Herald newspaper. The Left chose to keep a distance from the Congress on the issue.

Banerjee also announced goodies affecting a majority of the population. While the government would distribute nearly Rs 600 crore (nearly $91 million) to support 10,000 clubs, around 70 million out of the state’s 90 million population is to get rice and wheat at Rs 2 per kg.

Several famed personalities died in 2015. They included former Missionaries of Charity superior general Sister Nirmala, legendary sports administrator and Board of Control for Cricket in India president Jagmohan Dalmiya, ex-assembly speaker H A Halim, double leg amputee swimmer and English channel conqueror Masudur Rahman Baidya and writer Suchitra Bhattacharya.

In a tragic incident, 20-year-old cricketer Ankit Keshri succumbed to injuries sustained in an on-field collision in April.

Over 30 lives were lost in landslides that wrecked the Darjeeling hills, the rape of a nun in a Nadia district church by bandits caused revulsion while the discovery that a man was living with the corpses of his sister and two dogs for over six months in the heart of the city triggered shock and disbelief.(IANS)

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Subhas Chandra Bose Didn’t Die in an Air Crash, Suggests French Report

The French government has always been silent on the issue, adding more significance to the findings

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Subhas Chandra Bose and the mystery around his death
Subhas Chandra Bose with Mahatma Gandhi at the Indian National Congress meeting. Wikimedia
  • Paris based historian, J B P More, through a brief French secret service report came up with a finding that Bose didn’t die in an air crash and was alive in 1947
  • The French government has always been silent on the issue
  • The Indian government, supposedly ended the mystery some time ago, by replying to an RTI query

New Delhi, July 17, 2017: Seventy-two years since the report of the death of Subhas Chandra Bose, but the debate regarding the real timing and cause of his demise continues. Whether the plane crash story holds any ground or not, is still a mystery that is yet to be solved.

Three commissions were appointed by the government of India to resolve the deeply rooted mystery. Among them, The Shah Nawaz Committee (1956) and Khosla Commission (1970) concluded that Bose died in an air crash on August 18, 1945, at Taihoku airport in Japanese-occupied Taipei, whereas, the Mukherjee Commission came to the conclusion that he did not die in an air crash. Although the Government rejected the claims of the Mukherjee Commission, this did not refrain the scholars around the world to get deep into the case to find the truth.

Recently, Paris-based historian, J B P More stumbled upon a brief French secret service report dated December 11, 1947, at the National Archives of France. He came up with a finding that Bose didn’t die in an air crash and was still alive in 1947.

Also read: Personal life of Subhas Chandra Bose generates divisive views

“It is not stated in the document that Subhas Chandra Bose died in the air crash in Taiwan. Instead, it is reported that Bose’s present whereabouts were unknown as late as December 1947, which again implies that the French did not buy the theory that Bose died in the air crash on August 18, 1945,” said More, who teaches at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Economiques et Commerciales, Paris.

“But he escaped from Indochina alive and his whereabouts were unknown as late as December 11, 1947, as reported in the secret document. This implies that he was alive somewhere but not dead in 1947,” More added, quoting the report written for the “Haut Commisariat de France for Indochina” SDECE Indochinese Base BCRI No. 41283 csah Ex No. 616, under the title: “Archival Information on Subhas Chandra Bose.”

After Bose took off from Saigon on his way to Tokyo, the British and the Japanese too declared that Bose died in an air crash, but the French government always remained silent on the issue, though Vietnam/Indochina was a French colony during the 1940s.

Also read: 100 files related to Netaji declassified by PM Modi on his birth anniversary

Scholars have expressed their concern regarding the need for the findings in the report to be taken seriously. “Even though the Mukherjee Commission concluded that Bose didn’t die in an air crash, the government didn’t recognize it. The Centre’s idea to ‘declassify’ secret files on Bose may not help, But findings like this have significance,” said Kingshuk Nag, a noted journalist and author of the book “Netaji: Living Dangerously.”

Only some time ago, The Ministry of Home Affairs, India, supposedly ended the mystery by replying to a Right To Information query filed by Sayak Sen. MHA reportedly said: “After considering the reports of Shahnawaz Committee, Justice GD Khosla Commission and Justice Mukherjee Commission of Enquiry, the Government has come to the conclusion that Netaji has died in plane crash in 1945.”

Now, Paris-based historian J B P More, with his findings, seems to have given a new shape to this enigma.

– prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Odisha pays tribute to 2 of its legendary sons Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Veer Surendra Sai on their Birth Anniversaries

Odisha on Monday celebrated the birth anniversaries of two of its legendary sons Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Veer Surendra Sai.

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Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Twitter

Bhubaneshwar, Jan 23, 2017: Odisha on Monday celebrated the birth anniversaries of two of its legendary sons Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Veer Surendra Sai.

While the 120th birth anniversary of Netaji Bose was observed in a big way at his birthplace in Odia Bazaar in Cuttack, the birthday of freedom fighter Surendra Sai was observed at his native village Khinda in Sambalpur district.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Tourism Minister Ashok Chandra Panda and others visited the Netaji museum in Cuttack and paid homage at the Janakinath Bhawan where Netaji was born on January 23, 1897.

Several functions were also organised to mark his birthday.

“Saluting the icon of patriotism, valour, sacrifice of one of the greatest sons of soil Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, on his birth anniversary,” tweeted the Chief Minister.

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Patnaik also offered floral tribute to Veer Surendra Sai’s statue inside the Odisha Legislative Assembly premises on the auspicious occasion of his 208th birth anniversary.

“I pay my heartfelt tributes to the great revolutionary, freedom fighter and leader of the people Veer Surendra Sai on his birth anniversary,” said the Chief Minister.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha chief Mohan Bhagwat visited Khinda village to pay tributes to the great freedom fighter on his birthday, said sources. (IANS)

 

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Declassified documents reveal Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s widow wanted an early solution to the issue of her husband’s ashes

Files pertaining to the time and life of Netaji are being released, in batches, and the records are being analysed thoroughly

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Bose arriving at the 1939 annual session of the Congress. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

August 31, 2016: Declassified files relating to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose has been made accessible to the public on August 30, 2016 by Government of India. Last year on October 14, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi had made the announcement regarding declassifying the documents; when he met the delegation of Netaji’s family members at his residence in New Delhi. Since then, files pertaining to the time and life of Netaji are being released, in batches, and the records are being analysed thoroughly.

One of the disclosed records claimed that Netaji’s wife Emilie Schenkl wanted the issue of Netaji’s ashes, being brought to India from Japan, to be resolved as quickly as possible.

Pranab Mukherjee, the then external minister had met with Schenkl and Netaji’s daughter Anita Pfaff in Germany on October 21, 1995. Following which he wrote a signed memorandum on October 28, 1995 to late Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao: “I feel that Netaji’s widow and daughter are keen that an early solution be found to the issue of return of Netaji’s ashes to India.”

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Subhas_Bose_with_his_wife
Subhas Chandra Bose with his wife Emilie Schenkl. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Mukherjee further recorded in his Memo that “Anita Pfaff made it clear that while she would like to consult other members of the (Bose) family in India, the final decision will rest with her alone.” He further added:” she would prefer that the family is not divided on this issue.”

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Mukherjee also made a prediction in his memo stating: “There appear to be some sections of Netaji’s family, if articulated publicly, as sure it will be, may be used for partisan political ends.”

The declassification of Netaji’s files held by the Indian Government had resulted in baseless defamation of Jawaharlal Nehru, and the Indian National Congress, of which Netaji twice held the position of the President.

Mr. Satish Lambah, then Indian ambassador to Germany had accompanied Mr. Pranab Mukherjee to the meeting with Netaji’s wife and daughter, mentioned theindiandiaspora.com report.

Ashis Ray, a residence of London and a veteran Media person, stated: “I cross checked with Ambassador Lambah. Not only did he corroborate President Mukherjee’s description of the meeting, but said Mukherjee was welcomed with great cordiality, courtesy, respect and warmth by Schenkl, Pfaff, and her family.”

Renkoji-temple
Renkoji Temple Tokyo japan. Image source: Wikimedia

Netaji’s ashes are preserved in Tokyo’s Renkoji Temple since September 1945. Schenkl, Netaji’s wife had passed away in March 1996 and Anita Bose Pfaff is now an economist in Germany.

The comments are revealed in a declassified document and can be read at – www.bosefiles.info.

– prepared by Usman Zafar from NewsGram. Twitter: @HalkiSiChuban

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