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Thursday, April 18 2024
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Fresh documents hint that Netaji did not survive Taipei crash

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New Delhi: Habib-ur-Rehman Khan, the ADC and co-passenger of Subhas Chandra Bose, has given his testimony to a committee and had stated that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s clothes “were on fire” when their plane crashed in Taipei on August 18, 1945, and burst into flames.

Khan, who survived the Taipei plane crash, later became Pakistan’s additional defence secretary post partition and during his testimony to the three-member Netaji Inquiry Committee instituted by the Indian government in 1956, headed by Maj Gen Shah Nawaz Khan of Bose’s Indian National Army, had said that he had laid Netaji down on the ground and noticed a very deep cut on his head…His face had been scorched by heat and his hair had also caught fire and singed.

This little known report was released by Ashis Ray, a senior London-based journalist who has been posting archival and other documents on a website to substantiate reports that Bose did not survive the plane crash.

Khan, who died in 1978, recounted: “Netaji turned towards me. I said ‘Aagey se nikaleay, pichey se rasta nahin hai (Please get out through the front; there is no way through the rear).’ We could not get through the entrance door as it was all blocked and jammed by packages and other things. So Netaji got out through the fire; actually he rushed through the fire. I followed him through the same flames.”

He continued: “The moment I got out, I saw him about 10 yards ahead of me, standing, looking in the opposite direction to mine towards the west. His clothes were on fire. I rushed and I experienced great difficulty in unfastening his bush-shirt belt. His trousers were not so much on fire and it was not necessary to take them off.”
Khan was in woollen uniform, while Bose was in cotton khakis, which, it was assessed, caught fire more easily.

Khan went on: “I laid him down on the ground and noticed a very deep cut on his head, probably on the left side. His face had been scorched by heat and his hair had also caught fire and singed.”

He further narrated: “Netaji enquired from me in Hindustani: ‘Aap ko zyada to nahin lagi? (I hope you have not been hurt badly).’ I replied, ‘I feel that I will be all right’. About himself, he said that he felt that he would not survive.”

Bose added: “Jab apney mulk wapas jaye to mulk-ki bhaiyon ko batana ki mein akhri dam tak mulk-ki azadi ke liye larta raha hoon; woh jangi azadi ko jari rakhen. Hindustan zaroor azad hoga, Oos ko koi ghulam nahin rakh sakta. (When you go back to the country, tell the people that till the last moment, I fought for the liberation of my country; they should continue to struggle, and I am sure India will be free before long. Nobody can keep India in bondage now.)

Bose was then rushed to the nearby Nanmon Military Hospital in a critical condition.

A post of Ray’s website said further revelations about what happened after Bose was admitted to the hospital will be made on January 16.

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