New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met with the family of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and said that the process of declassification of files related to his death will begin on his 118th birth anniversary on January 23.
He said he will also urge foreign governments to declassify files on Netaji available with them by writing to them and personally taking up with foreign leaders, beginning with Russia in December.
His announcement regarding an issue that has been hanging fire for seven decades came when he received 35 family members of Bose at his official residence at 7 Race Course Road and interacted with them for an hour.
Announcing the decision to declassify files, Modi wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter, “Process of declassification of files relating to Netaji will begin on 23rd January 2016, Subhas Babu's birth anniversary.”
“It was a privilege to welcome family members of Subhas Babu to 7RCR. We had a remarkable & extensive interaction,” PM tweeted after the meeting.
“I told Subhas Babu's family members- please consider me a part of your family. They shared their valuable suggestions with me,” he said.
Declaring that "there is no need to strangle history", he said "Nations that forget their history lack the power to create it." .
Netaji's family expressed joy over the decision to declassify the files. “PM has done good work. Country will fully support the PM today: Netaji's grand nephew Chandra Bose said.
"I told Subhas Babu's family members - please consider me a part of your family. They shared their valuable suggestions with me," the Prime Minister said, while remarking that "it was a privilege to welcome" them to 7, Race Course Road, his official residence.
"We had a remarkable & extensive interaction," Modi said. During the interaction where External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Home Minister Rajnath Singh were also present, the family members requested for declassification of the files available with the government of India.
They suggested that the government of India initiate the process to get the files on Netaji available with foreign governments to also be declassified, a PMO statement said.
The Prime Minister said he finds the suggestions of the family members of Netaji to be similar to his own thinking and the view of the union government, it said.
He agreed with the suggestion to request foreign governments to declassify files on Netaji available with them.
Modi said he would not only write to them but also take up the matter during his meetings with foreign leaders, beginning with Russia in December, the statement said.
He also shared with the family members some instances of how he had recalled Netaji during his term as Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Amid growing demands for declassification of the files, the Prime Minister had disclosed in his monthly 'Mann Ki Baat' radio programme on September 20 that he would be receiving Netaji's family members at his residence in October.
He had noted that it would perhaps be the first time that the family members of Netaji would be together visiting the Prime Minister's residence.
There have been demands by Netaji's family and several others for declassification of secret files as they hope that it will help answer questions regarding his mysterious disappearance in 1945.
The Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal had recently declassified 64 files which were in its possession.