File photo of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in Germany
Dubai: A "vicious disinformation" campaign surrounding the death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose has left people "confused", author and grandnephew of the Indian nationalist leader has said.
Speaking to PTI on the sidelines of the Emirates Festival of Literature here, journalist and author of the book Laid To Rest: the controversy over Subhas Chandra Bose's death Ashis Ray said he was fed up with the massive disinformation campaign mounted by people having vested interests about what had happened to Bose.
Asked what prompted him to write the book, Ray said he wanted to "dispel" "one big misconception" that Bose had "died as a result of a plane crash". "It's a tragedy but the truth," he said.
The nationalist leader, who was among the foremost Independence movement leaders, reportedly died in an air crash at Taihoku airport on August 18, 1945. This was not accepted by some members of his family and supporters. Conspiracy theories appeared within hours of his death and have persisted since then.
According to Ray, the reason behind there being no closure in the case begins with Bose's older brother Sarat Bose's premature death.
"Had he lived longer, he would have settled the matter. He was the final arbiter. Thereafter a vicious disinformation campaign over seven decades has confused people," he said.
"I needed to support his only child Professor Anita Bose Pfaff's plea to the Indian government to bring her father's mortal remains from Tokyo where they have been lying now for 73 years to India for a final disposal," he said.
Ray conceded that a section of Bose's extended family in India was also responsible for putting the Indian government on the back foot.
"But now that all government of India files pertaining to Bose have been declassified and these have confirmed the truth, there is no reason for Indian authorities not to comply with Professor Pfaff's wishes. She is the only legal and moral authority on the matter," said Ray, who is based in London.
Born at Cuttack in Odisha in 1897, Bose formed the Indian National Army also known as the Azad Hind Fauj to fight the British.
"The trial of officers of his Indian National Army at the Red Fort united India as never before (as Jawaharlal Nehru said) or since and triggered mutinies in the British Indian armed forces," Ray said.
"It can also be argued the insecurity of Britons in India caused by the reaction to the trial hastened Indian independence," he said.
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