Tokyo’s Renkoji temple gave permission to Indian authorities to conduct DNA tests on ashes said to be those of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, according to fresh translation of a letter which refutes claims that the temple was “reticent”, placing doubts on a commission of enquiry’s ruling that the ashes were not Netaji’s’.

A new translation of a letter in Japanese written by the chief priest of Tokyo’s Renkoji temple to the Indian government in 2005 revealed that permission was given for DNA test of the remains to the Justice MK Mukherjee Commission. However, for inexplicable reasons this portion of the letter was not translated and a bland edited English version was attached to the Justice Mukherjee Commission’s report on the disappearance of Bose as evidence that “on account of the Temple Authorities reticence… the commission could not proceed further (on the issue of DNA tests)”. The Commission later used this to conclude that the ashes were not of Netaji’s, giving credence to speculations that he may have survived to become an ascetic or prisoner in a Russian prison.

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Madhuri Bose, the legendary freedom fighter’s grand-niece the grand-daughter of his brother Sarat Bose, told PTI, “We recently commissioned the fresh translation after we found inconsistencies in the Mukherjee Commission report and found several paragraphs in the letter written in Japanese missing from the official English version in the Justice Mukherjee Inquiry Report. The new translation by a Japanese language expert revealed that Nichiko Mochizuki, the chief priest of the Renkoji Temple-a 427-year-old Buddhist temple, had written “I agreed to offer my cooperation for the testing. The same was agreed upon at the meeting with (Indian) Ambassador (M.L) Tripathi (to Japan) last year (2004)” in the omitted portion. The translation could not be independently authenticated by PTI.

“We do not understand why this permission was not made public earlier or why DNA tests were not conducted,” said Madhuri Bose, who has served in the Commonwealth Secretariat and at the United Nations, besides authoring books on the Bose brothers. The Mukherjee Commission, which tabled its report in Parliament in 2006, had concluded that Bose “did not die in the plane crash, as alleged” by eye-witnesses, including his close confidantes from the INA, and that the ashes in the Japanese temple were not of Netaji”.

Eye-witnesses, including Col Habib-Ur-Rahman of the INA, had said Bose died in a plane crash in August 1945 in Taipei. Theories that he survived or was never on the aircraft that crashed gained ground as a result of the report, as also a hypothesis that he may have turned into an ascetic or imprisoned in a Russian gulag.

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