Chandra Kumar Bose, the grandnephew of ‘Netaji’ Subhas Chandra Bose, on Sunday alleged that the late freedom fighter’s cap, which had been handed over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the inauguration of a museum dedicated to him at Delhi’s Red Fort, had gone missing and been “transferred to another place it was not meant to be at".
Chandra Bose tagged PM Modi in a tweet, saying it was unfair for the property of the freedom fighter to be moved around from one place to the other.
But, sources in the Culture Ministry and the Archaeological Survey of India told CNN-News18 that the iconic cap was moved to Kolkata’s Victoria Memorial this year in January where the event to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji was held in the presence of Modi and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
According to top sources, as a practice, the cap was loaned out to Victoria Memorial for six months starting January and Chandra Kumar Bose and the leader’s family had been aware of the developments.
Another source said the claim is an attempt by Chandra Bose to create unnecessary controversy and drag the name of the Prime Minister.
Officials from Victoria Memorial said many items were loaned from ASI for the programme.
Later, the Ministry of Culture in a release clarified that reports on missing artefacts of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose were completely untrue. “An exhibition was inaugurated at Victoria Memorial in Kolkata on 23 January this year to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, where these artefacts were displayed. These artefacts were loaned from Red Fort Museum by ASI to Victoria Memorial after following a proper procedure in which a formal MoU was signed between the two organisations," the Ministry said.
“The MoU is valid for 6 months and further extendable by a year. These artefacts were sent to Kolkata with proper escort and insurance. The Ministry has further said that the loaning and borrowing of antiquities and exhibits are a regular exercise between museums. In this case, both ASI and VMH are under the administrative control of Ministry of Culture," it added.
The government of India has constituted a year-long programme starting 23 January 2021, to mark the 125th birth anniversary of the late freedom fighter.
Among the series of programmes, a big event was held at Kolkata’s iconic Victoria Memorial where Modi paid tribute to Netaji. His family members including Chandra Kumar Bose were also invited to the event, where not just his cap but other items including weapons used by Netaji were displayed at the exhibition at the Victoria Memorial.
This includes items belonging to the INA, which was founded by the late freedom fighter.
On January 23, 2019, the Union government inaugurated a museum at Delhi’s Red Fort dedicated to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
The museum had been inaugurated by PM Modi and the Bose family had gifted the cap to him as a part of the archives.