News Brief

Netaji’s Family Wants Closure; Back Demand For DNA Test Of Ashes At Japan’s Renko-ji Temple

Swarajya Staff

Dec 04, 2019, 03:20 PM | Updated 02:51 PM IST

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s bust at Renko-ji Temple, Japan. (Image by Tyoron2 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4435263)
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s bust at Renko-ji Temple, Japan. (Image by Tyoron2 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4435263)
  • There seems to be a change of opinion about his death among Netaji’s descendants.
  • His grandnephew, Chandra Bose says that after closely studying the matter for many years, the family is now of the opinion that Netaji died in Taiwan.
  • Testing the ashes at Renko-ji Temple may prove this point.
  • Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s family members, including his grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose, want a closure to the 74-year-old mystery surrounding the death or disappearance of Netaji.

    This comes on the heels of the union government declassifying all files related to Netaji.

    Chandra Bose, who is also the vice president of the BJP’s Bengal unit, tweeted in support of the demand for DNA testing of the ashes kept in an urn at Renko-ji temple in Japan after thanking Prime Minister Modi for the declassification.

    The ashes are said to be those of Netaji but the freedom fighter’s descendants have often disputed this claim.

    According to a front-page report in the Kolkata edition of The Times Of India, Chandra Bose and 35 other members of the Netaji family have backed the demand of Netaji’s daughter Anita Bose Pfaff to carry out a DNA test on the ashes.

    Netaji’s family feels that DNA tests of the ashes at reputable laboratories in India, Japan, Germany, USA (United States of America) and the UK (United Kingdom) would put to rest the controversy surrounding the disappearance of Netaji.

    It would also bring to an end, as Chandra Bose has tweeted, the “false narratives” on Netaji’s disappearance.

    Chandra Bose has also sought a formal appointment with Prime Minister Modi to urge him to talk to Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in this regard during their summit at Guwahati on 15 December.

    Japan’s concurrence for taking the ashes for DNA tests is necessary. PM Modi has stated that he is open to the idea of conducting the DNA tests of the ashes.

    Modi had twice refused to visit the Renko-ji temple during his trips to Japan in July 2012 and September 2014 since there was no evidence that the ashes kept in an urn there were Netaji’s. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also kept the temple out of his itinerary during his visit to Japan in May 2013.

    But many Indian leaders have visited the shrine in the past. Nehru visited the temple in 1957, followed by President Rajendra Prasad in 1958 and Indira Gandhi in 1959. Atal Behari Vajpayee visited it twice, and so did former external affairs minister, Jaswant Singh.

    However, following protests from Netaji’s kin and descendants, Indian leaders have avoided visiting the temple of late. Most of Netaji’s descendants have dismissed the narrative that Netaji died after an air crash at Taihoku in present-day Taiwan.

    Netaji’s family members and descendants had consistently rubbished the Shahnawaz Khan committee report and the Khosla Commission report that upheld the theory that Netaji died in the plane crash.

    The family have been supporting the findings of the Justice Mukherjee Commission Of Enquiry that dismissed the air crash theory. This enquiry commission was instituted by the Vajpayee government but the Congress-led UPA government rejected its findings.

    But there seems to be a change of opinion about his death among Netaji’s descendants. Chandra Bose says that after closely studying the matter for many years, the family is now of the opinion that Netaji died in Taiwan.

    He was quoted by The Times Of India as saying: “We do not know if he died in a plane crash or was assassinated. But since he was with Japanese authorities (he was last seen alive on August 17, 1945), we are sure the three files in Japan contain conclusive proof of how he died. But we no longer doubt that Netaji died in Taiwan”.

    Chandra Bose wants Prime Minister Modi to request his Japanese counterpart to declassify the three files on Netaji.

    However, the proposed DNA test on the ashes may not prove to be conclusive. Forensic experts say that since Netaji was cremated, the intense heat would have destroyed all DNA evidence.

    The only part of a body that can survive the intense heat and yield DNA strands is the teeth or bone fragments. But it is not known if the urn containing Netaji’s ashes contain any teeth or bone fragments.


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