It was the run of of 2014, when then National President of BJP, Rajnath Singh on the eve of the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, visited his birth place and raised the pitch for declassification of files relating to mysterious disappearance of Netaji. He hit the popular chord and said, “The entire country is impatient to know as to how Netaji died and under what circumstances.”
On April 9th 2013, the then, CM of Gujarat, Mr. Modi, while visiting Kolkata met with the relatives of Netaji. A letter signed by Netaji’s nephew Dr DN Bose on behalf of 24 members of the family was handed over to Mr. Modi. The family in the letter said, “Netaji belonged to the entire nation, so we extend our appeal to you for your kind support in demanding from the Prime Minister that the Central Government must release in public domain all records to help unravel the mystery about his fate and bring a closure to the issue”.
It raised high hopes and expectations were set for the “nationalist party”. Then President of the party took oath as the Home Minister of the nation. The then Chief Minister of Gujarat took oath as the Prime Minister of the nation.
But all the high promises that was made during the run up of the elections, found a usual U-turn in just 6 months in power. In reply to a RTI, The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has refused to declassify 39 files. It took a position similar to that of the previous UPA government. “Disclosure of documents contained in these files would prejudicially affect relations with foreign countries.” However in the reply the PMO has not mentioned about the names of the “foreign countries” that it was referring to.
The PMO has 4 top secret files with it, including two on Justice Mukherjee commission of inquiry, relating to transfer of his ashes to India and also that of correspondence with and about the widow and daughter of Netaji. It has 20 files classified as “secret” and the rest are categorised just as “classified”.
With the Government of the day, taking a sharp U-turns and failing to live up to the promises it has made during the election campaign, the question lies with the intention of the Government. Larger question lies whether such speeches and promises were just meant for electorate gain? The Government not even caring to mention the names of foreign nations, with whom relations will get affected also, raises a few eyebrows.
In just over six months of power, the government has taken a lot of U-Turns, and this one is an addition to the growing list. Certainly this will not go down well with the people of India and Bengal.
The Country’s biggest cover up was needed to be exposed, but the Government failed to live up to the promises made to the people and disappointed once again.
Book Review: When a tree shook Delhi: the 1984 carnage and its aftermath by Manoj Mitta and H.S.Phoolka
After I finished reading the book, When a tree shook Delhi: the 1984 carnage and its aftermath by Manoj Mitta and H.S.Phoolka, I sat still for a few seconds and reflected of the severity of the experience of 200 odd pages I leafed through. The book serves the useful purpose of bringing together various bits of information regarding the Sikh carnage, replete with accounts from various government sources as well as witness stories; it also raises crucial questions about what went wrong and how.
Although there are a couple of official reports of inquiry commissions regarding the carnage, the book fills a void in that it brings together all these reports, and analyses their findings holistically. Manoj Mitta is an experienced journalist who has written about the 1984 slaughter extensively over two decades, and HS Phoolka a crusading lawyer who has fought for justice for the hapless and forlorn victims of the carnage.
Unlike many other “fact-finding” books I have read before, this one was not a cut-and-paste job or a collage of old newspaper clippings. The research and pain that has gone into putting this book together is massive and hence impressive.
Mitta and Phoolka have no difficulty in proving that the report of the Justice Ranganath Misra Commission that was appointed by the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1985 was a mere exercise in whitewashing facts. In 2001, the Vajpayee government appointed the Nanavati Commission that submitted its findings in the form of a report in 2005. Although the Nanavati Commission was more forthcoming about the “truth”, a lot was left unexplored.
The book raises an important issue of State complicity. The book confirms the worst suspicion that had the army been deployed in all the trouble-spots of the National Capital on October 31, 1984 itself, the killings could have been stopped. So, who delayed the deployment? The Home Minister and the Prime of Minister of India must answer.
It is tragic and ironic that the Congress made a Sikh Prime Minister “apologise” for a pogrom against Sikhs, 21 years after the carnage. Manmohan Singh, while presenting the Nanavati Commission’s report in Parliament admitted that even 21 years after the tragic riots and two judicial inquiries into them, the “truth had not yet been fully revealed”. He humbly “apologised” not only to the Sikh community but also to the whole nation for what took place in 1984. Yet, even that solemn moment was not without irony. Jagdish Tytler, one of the several Congress leaders accused of complicity in the carnage, was then a member of the Council of Ministers.
Will the truth about the bigger conspiracy behind this pogrom ever emerge in the public domain? Or will the guilty evade the gallows just for the “lack of evidence”? The integrity of world’s largest democracy is at stake.
My Rating: 4/5 stars