Seven decades have passed since Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose went missing on this date in 1945, with many historians suggesting that he might have died in a plane crash, but the recurring demand to bring back his purported remains from a temple in Japan for DNA examination has not been met with thus far.
The freedom fighter's grandnephew, Surya Kumar Bose, issued a statement on Tuesday, making a fresh appeal to authorities to facilitate DNA testing of the ashes that have been interred in Renkoji temple, in an attempt to put a lid on the controversies surrounding his "disappearance".
Several theories have persisted since Netaji went missing, with some experts having claimed that he did not die in the crash and lived in disguise till death.
Bose, who lives in Germany, said, "Almost two decades ago in the course of the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry (JMCI), a precious opportunity to conduct a DNA test, and to bring the remains of Netaji home to his beloved motherland, was sadly lost. According to the JMCI Report, the Renkoji authorities were not willing to allow a DNA test of the alleged remains."
In his statement, he pointed out that the chief priest of Renkoji Temple, Reverend Nichiko Mochizuki, had written to Indian embassy in Tokyo in 2005 insisting that the remains be returned.
Bose, an IT consultant, further quoted excerpts from a letter written by Mochizuki, whose father is known to have received the purported remains of Netaji in September 1945, to make his point.
According to the excerpt, Mochizuki told the embassy, "I felt that if I accepted the proposal for DNA testing and the remains are eventually returned to India, my father’s soul and spirit could finally be at rest. In this way, I agree to offer my co-operation for the testing."
The translation of the chief priest’s original letter was commissioned by Madhuri Bose, Netaji’s grandniece.
Renkoji Temple authorities were fully supportive of a DNA test on the remains, Bose maintained.
"It is time to seize the opportunity missed by Justice Mukherjee to conduct a DNA testing procedure on the reported remains of Netaji. There is every reason to believe that this entire process would be fully acceptable to and supported by the Renkoji Temple authorities, as well as by the governments of both Japan and India,” the IT consultant stated.
Bose had in 2015 met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Berlin to raise the demand for declassification of all secret files related to the freedom fighter.
"Subhas Bose did not belong just to his family. He had himself said that the whole country is his family," the grandnephew had said back then.
Earlier, Netaji’s daughter Anita Bose Pfaff had also requested the governments of India and Japan to make arrangements to bring her father’s purported remains back home.