‘It’s criminal defamation to say Netaji became Gumnami Baba’

Ashis Ray, author of ‘Laid To Rest’ a critically acclaimed book that talks about the mystery over the death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, spoke to media as Bose’s 74th death anniversary approaches

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (PTI photo).
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (PTI photo).
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NH Web Desk

“It is criminal defamation to say Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose became Gumnami Baba,” says the London based author, Ashis Ray. He is the author of Laid to Rest: The Controversy Over Subhas Chandra Bose’s Death, a critically acclaimed book which talks about the mystery over the death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

He was speaking to the press as the 74th death anniversary of Bose approaches on August 18.

“The so-called Gumnami Baba was a suspected murderer. To even remotely suggest he was Subhas Bose is the greatest insult to one of the leading lights of the Indian freedom movement, who sacrificed his life for the independence of his country. This slander must stop. Indian authorities need to take action against peddlers of such character assassination, who make money from spreading calumny and misleading innocent people,” the author elaborated.

Many people in the country believe that Gumnami Baba who lived in Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh till 1985 was Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. This is due to the mystery which surrounds the leader’s death.

A Bollywood film named ‘Gumnami Baba’ is going to release in the theatres soon. The trailer of the movie was launched on august 15.

As per official records, Netaji died in a plane crash in Taiwan while escaping the British forces. After that, many theories came up regarding Netaji’s death.

Ray’s book provides the most detailed and definitive account of Bose’s death as a result of a plane crash in Taipei on 18 August 1945. It has been described as the “white paper” on the subject which the Government of India never produced.

Netaji’s only daughter Prof Anita Bose Pfaff who lives in Germany and who was involved in 11 different official and unofficial investigations agrees on the major facts regarding the plane crash and the consequent death of Netaji. She went on record saying that "the only consistent story about Netaji's demise remains his death in a plane crash on 18 August 1945".

In 2016, Modi government promised to Netaji’s family to declassify files which contains details about Netaji’s death.

Ray pointed out that an offer to transfer the ashes to India was made by a British military officer Lieutenant Colonel John Figgess as far back as 25 July 1946.

He said: “Figgess, who was stationed in Tokyo, was asked to investigate Bose’s death, reported by Reuters, by Lord Louis Mountbatten at the then Viceroy of India Lord Archibald Wavell’s request. The final sentence in Figgess’ inquiry report said: ‘If it is considered desirable, the ashes can be returned to the relatives in India’. But the British administration in India took no action on the offer.”

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