Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise to build a statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose for the India Gate cupola has not cut any ice with Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who questioned today why the Centre is yet to declassify the files related to his death. Her party demanded that the ashes preserved at Japan's Renkoji temple, believed to be that of the freedom fighter, be sent for DNA analysis.
"Till today we don't know about Netaji's whereabouts," Ms Banerjee said at an event to mark his 125th birth anniversary.
"They (the Centre) had said that when they come to power, they will work on it but nothing happened. In fact, we (state) have released and declassified all files on Netaji Bose," she was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The controversy over Netaji's death is a hugely emotive issue in Bengal and many still believe that he did not die in a plane crash in 1945.
In response to a query under the Right to Information Act in 2017, the Centre had confirmed that Subhas Bose died in a plane crash in Taipei on August 18, 1945.
The Centre also claims it has declassified all the files related to Netaji. In April 2016, the Centre released the third batch of 25 declassified files, which comprised five files each from the Prime Minister's Office and Home Ministry, and 15 files from Ministry of External Affairs. The files dated back to the period between 1956 and 2009.
But a section of researchers allege that the Intelligence Bureau files on the matter are still not in the public domain.
Yesterday, Trinamool Congress MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting de-classification of "Netaji Files".
PM Modi, who said his monthly radio address Mann ki Baat that the Centre has fulfilled the demand of making Netaji files public, has promised a granite statue of the iconic freedom fighter at India Gate.
Until the statue is ready, a hologram of Netaji, will be put up at the spot, PM Modi had tweeted, sharing an image.
Ms Banerjee claimed today that statue is being built "because we pressurised you".
In a first, the government has also announced that the Republic Day celebrations will now begin from January 23 instead of January 24, to include Netaji's birth anniversary. It will end on January 30, the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.