Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of Bengal, said today that she was surprised by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s “hurtful tweet” on legendary freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, who is believed by many to have lived even after the reports of his death in an air crash in Taiwan in 1945.
Netaji’s grand-nephew, Chandra Bose, who joined the BJP just before the Bengal election earlier this year, has demanded an apology from Mr Jaitley.
The tweet, which is now missing from Mr Jaitley’s Twitter timeline:
“Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was an icon of exemplary valour and sacrifice. We remember and pay him our respectful tribute on his death anniversary.”
Mamata Bannerje reacted first to the post:
“Today is Raksha Bandhan I don’t want to hurt anybody. But shocked with @arunjaitley Ji hurtful tweet this morning on Netaji.We’re all hurt.”
Family members of Subhash Chandra Bose as well as those connected to various organisations related to the leader, too, tweeted their dismay at Jaitley, urging him to take down the tweet.
A section of historians and Bose family members believe that he died in the air crash, but many others refuse to believe it and insist that he escaped to continue his fight against British rule in India and was somehow silenced by the Congress leadership at the time.
The debate intensified recently when some secret files on Netaji became public.
In September last year, Mamata Banerjee made public 65 files on Netaji. On cue, the Centre also started making public more files. The Modi government has released, in batches, several files on the leader.