Silence on Netaji's end is a shame: Mamata



Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday lamented that final word was yet to be spoken on the date of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's death and said this 'shame' would remain till it was done.

''Sad, but true, we know the birthday of Netaji, but not the date he died. This is a shame and it will remain till the date is discovered,'' Banerjee said at Netaji's 116th birth anniversary function at his ancestral house Netaji Bhavan.

Controversy persists over the mysterious disappearance of Netaji and the successive governments at the Centre set up three commissions of enquiry to inquire into it.

While the Shahnawaz Committee and Khosla Commissions, set up by the successive Congress governments at the Centre, concluded that that Netaji had died in a plane crash at Taihoku (Taipei) in Japan on August 18, 1945, the Manoj Mukherjee Commission, set up by the BJP-led NDA government, said that the leader did not die in the crash.

''After Netaji left this house, no one knows whether he is alive or dead,'' Banerjee said, referring to Bose's escape from the house in 1941.

In an apparent reference to the CPI(M) which criticised her government for not inviting the Opposition to the official garlanding of Bose's statue today, Banerjee said, ''Those who once called Netaji the 'dog of Tojo (the then Japanese prime minister)' are now paying homage to him. This cannot happen.''

Without naming the party, she said, ''It is said that a prophet is not honoured in his own country. Some are having a late realisation of this, but it is good that they are realising it at least.''

Banerjee, who earlier garlanded Nejai's statue, said that this was for the first time that the government had honoured the leader with a march past by the Kolkata Police.

''I am proud of this. I have also written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to declare Netaji's birthday as a national holiday,'' she said.

Recalling the influence of Swami Vivekananda on Netaji, Banerjee said their writings had inspired her from an young age to face adversities with boldness.

The chief minister ended her speech by saying 'Netaji Amar Rahe,' but immediately after she corrected herself by adding, ''I will not say this. I do not know whether he is alive or dead. So I will say 'Long Live' and wish him a long life.''

PTI