Netaji files: Indian government was urged to maintain Kabul refuge

Kolkata, Jan 23 (IANS) Describing it as “sacred”, Forward Bloc MP Chitta Basu in 1988 had urged the Indian government to “take over” and “maintain” the house in Afghanistan’s Kabul where revolutionary leader Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had put up during the great escape from then Calcutta.

Uttam Chand Malhotra had hosted Netaji in 1941 in Kabul during his great escape.

In a correspondence to then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, dated September 30, 1988, Basu had drawn attention to Uttam Chand’s house in Mohalla Hindu Guzar in Shor Bazar, Kabul, reveals the files declassified by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the revolutionary leader’s 119th birth anniversary.

“I am told that the said house is not being maintained properly and it may be dilapidated soon. For every Indian patriot, the house is a sacred place. I strongly feel that the government of India should take necessary action, to take over the house and maintain it properly as a monument of historical and national significance,” said Basu.

Basu had also taken the matter up with K. Natwar Singh, the then minister of state for external affairs.

“I took up the matter with K. Natwar Singh, minister of state, external affairs, who was kind enough to send me a letter of acknowledgement dated June 30, 1988. Since then, I have not received any information from the ministry of external affairs.”

Basu, in the letter — in the file 800/6/C/33/88-Pol of the declassified Netaji papers — quoted a relevant portion of the book “The Talwars of Pathan Land and Subhas Chandra’s Great Escape” which mentions Netaji’s stay in the particular house.

Subsequently, in acknowledgement of the letter, a correspondence from the prime minister dated December 2, 1988, says “the ministry of external affairs are being asked to look into this”.

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