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Netaji kin demands renaming of Victoria Memorial, writes to PM Modi

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By Soudhriti Bhabani

Kolkata, Jan 21 (IANS) As the nation gets ready to celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding the renaming of Kolkata’s iconic Victoria Memorial as ‘Swantantrata Senani Smarak’ in honour of all freedom fighters who died fighting for India’s independence.

“Victoria Memorial should be declared as ‘Swantantrata Senani Smarak’ in honour of all freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the country. We must delete this icon of slavery from the visible history,” Bose’s great grand niece and ABHM national president Rajyashree Chaudhuri told IANS.

She said the letter was sent to the Prime Minister’s Office on January 10.

She said the grand marble structure in Kolkata should be dedicated in memory of all martyrs from the Bengal province – i.e., undivided Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and northeast – who had sacrificed their lives and brought freedom for the nation against British imperialism.

“Besides this, we have also demanded renaming of Kolkata’s Fort William, which is now the Eastern Command’s headquarters, as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Fort after the first military head and Supreme Commander of free India Government,” Chaudhari said, adding that this is the time when the Indian Army should also be renamed as the Indian National Army.

The Eastern Command, an operational command of the Indian Army, is headquartered in Fort William in the city of Kolkata. The command’s area of responsibility extends from Bengal to Sikkim and across the entire northeast.

“Only formation of committees on Netaji or garlanding his statues will not help. If we really want to honour our freedom fighters we must go for a complete deletion of slavery from the history of our country,” said Bose’s kin.

Bose had a strong association with Fort William as part of the 89 Bengal Regiment when he was a third-year student of philosophy in the Scottish Church College under Calcutta University. He was a trainee member of the university cadet corps at the time.

Bose had raised the Indian National Army (INA) on October 21, 1943. The INA, under his leadership, had captured a large part of Indian territory and entered almost 1,500 miles inside the Indian mainland. Even Japan had also handed over Andaman and Nicobar Islands to Bose which he had named as Swaraj and Shahid islands on December 30, 1943.

“I hope that the honourable Prime Minister or the concerned person takes cognisance of the appeal which I was compelled to write after receiving grievances from various sources from West Bengal and other parts of the world. This would actually be a genuine gesture to honour India’s greatest freedom icon Netaji in the truest manner,” Chaudhuri pointed out.




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