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Pressure was put on Netaji’s kin to accept crash theory
NAVTAN KUMAR  New Delhi | 18th Apr 2015

The Union government under P.V. Narasimha Rao tried hard to persuade Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's wife and siblings to accept the theory that he died in an air crash in Taipei, Taiwan, on 18 August 1945, but failed. A top secret record speaks about the government's intention to change the views of Bose's wife Emilie and daughter Anita that he did not die in Taiwan. The then Home Secretary, K. Padmanabhaiah wrote in the file, "It would, therefore, be necessary to take the members of Netaji's family into confidence in the first place by convincing them as to the genuineness of the ashes. It should then be easier to handle opposition from other quarters like the Forward Bloc."

The note further reads: "Netaji's wife and the only daughter are at present living at Ausburg, Germany. It is felt that they can best be approached through another nephew of Netaji, Dr Sisir Bose. Shri Amia Nath Bose, the most vociferous sceptic of the air crash theory, needs to be brought around, by approaching at an appropriately high level. There is good chance that if reasonably approached, the family members may drop their opposition. The question of an appropriate memorial involving the mortal remains shall also have to be addressed in due course." These documents have been accessed by activist and author Anuj Dhar, who is demanding the declassification of the Netaji files.

In September 1995, Sisir Bose's friend, who was a powerful Congress leader and a Cabinet minister at the time, personally tried to bring Emilie around the government view. But she refused to toe the government line until the end of her life.

Netaji's Germany-based grandnephew, Surya Kumar Bose (grandson of Netaji's brother Sarat Chandra Bose), in a sworn affidavit filed before the Justice Manoj Mukherjee Inquiry Commission said that he was informed by his grandaunt Emilie that the Congress leader was coming to Augsburg on 21 October 1995 to convince her and Anita to give their approval for bringing the so-called ashes of Netaji to India.

"On 20 October 1995, Auntie rang me after 10.30 PM from her daughter Anita Pfaff's home in Ausburg. She was quite agitated. She told me that (the Congress leader) was coming to Ausburg on 21 October 1995 to convince her and Anita to give their approval for bringing the so-called 'ashes' of Netaji to India. (The Congress leader) also wanted her to sign a document which he would take back to India as proof of her approval.

"She again emphasized to me that she had never believed in the plane crash theory and would neither sign any document nor agree in any way to bringing the 'ashes' to India or to anywhere else," the affidavit says.

Emilie died in early 1996 believing that Subhas Chandra Bose had been eliminated in Soviet Russia.

The effort to convince the family otherwise continued even after death.

The "Top Secret memo, No G-12(3)/98-NGO for Principal Private Secretary to Prime Minister" Atal Behari Vajpayee says that "Indian Ambassador in Germany met Anita on 2 March 1998, after Emilie had passed away", adding that Anita "has been to India twice in order to build up a consensus in favour of the return of the ashes, but is clearly uncertain about the results of her efforts". Vajpayee had taken charge as PM on 19 March 1998.

Another 1998 top secret note claims that Anita was changing her stance and that up to the formation of the Mukherjee commission in 1999, was supportive of the government efforts to bring the Renkoji temple ashes to India and term them as that of Netaji's.

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