Amidst speculation that India's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna may be conferred on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, a majority of his family members on Sunday disapproved of the idea and instead demanded that the mystery of his disappearance be solved first.
"Netaji has been missing since 1945. When you award him with Bharat Ratna posthumously, you have to say when he died, but where is the evidence? The best way to honour him is to declassify government files which can reveal the truth behind his disappearance," Netaji's grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose told PTI.
He said that he had spoken to around 60 family members of the great leader, none of whom were willing to accept the award on his behalf.
"All of us feel that Bharat Ratna is not the appropriate award for him. None of us will go and accept the award," Bose said.
The family and members of the Open Platform for Netaji had recently written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding formation of a Special Investigation Team under the guidance of a sitting judge of the Supreme Court to investigate into Netaji's disappearance.
When under house arrest by the British, Netaji had escaped from India in 1941 to seek international support for India's freedom struggle.
He went missing in 1945, giving birth to India's most debated and lingering mystery ever. The Mukherjee Commission had rejected the opinion that he died in a plane crash in Taiwan on August 18, 1945.
Sugato Bose, another grandnephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, also expressed opposition to the conferment of the Bharat Ratna on the freedom fighter.
Bose demanded that Netaji be kept out of partisan politics. "Anyone with a sense of history will agree with me," he said.
"How can Netaji be given Bharat Ratna after 43 people? How can he be given Bharat Ratna after Rajiv Gandhi? Netaji's stature is bigger than Bharat Ratna," Bose said.
"Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is a perfect candidate for Bharat Ratna, not Netaji. Don't put forward Netaji's name," Bose advised.
Image: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose