Friday, July 17, 2009

Where are the Archives? (3)

Are things finally moving?
The Henderson Brooks which was given to Neville Maxwell is only one example of unnecessary over-classification.
In the case of Shastri's death, the PMO is keeping the files closed.
The initiative of Anuj Dhar and his friends is however promising. Visit their website.

I have posted several of my articles on the subject on my website.

HC asks Centre to place before it report on Sino-India war

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the government to place before it the report of Lt Gen Henderson Brooks on the reasons behind 1962 Sino-India war to decide whether it could be made public.
Justice Sanjiv Khanna issued notice to the government and asked it to file its response on a petition filed by noted journalist Kuldip Nayar, seeking the court''s direction to the Centre to disclose the report.
Advocate Rajiv Nayar, appearing for the petitioner, contended that the report was more that 45 years old and it could not remain classified.
"It is now 43 years old and should have been formally available in the Archives of India some 30 years after it was submitted to the Government of India. I hope I can use my right under Right to Information to get copy," the petition said, adding that in the US, the papers relating to Vietnam were made public.
The Court after hearing his arguments asked the government to file the report in a sealed envelope and posted the matter for further hearing on October 22.

45 years on, Shastri's death a mystery
Himanshi Dhawan, TNN 11 July 2009

NEW DELHI: Nearly 45 years after former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri died in Tashkent, mystery continues to shroud the circumstances around his death. In reply to a RTI query, the PMO said it had one document relating to Shastri’s death but refused to declassify it.
Incidentally, the PMO has cited exemption from disclosure on the plea that it could harm foreign relations, cause disruption in the country and cause breach of parliamentary privileges. Significantly, while officially Shastri is declared to have died of a cardiac arrest, his wife Lalita Shastri had alleged that her husband was poisoned. Shastri died on January 11, 1966.
The government has admitted that no post-mortem was conducted in the USSR but it had a report of a medical investigation conducted by Shastri’s personal doctor R N Chugh and some Russian doctors.
Author of "CIA's Eye on South Asia' Anuj Dhar, who asked for information regarding Shastri’s death, has questioned the secrecy that the establishment continues to insist on. "The government has a knack of fermenting unwarranted mysteries. We should have a clear declassification policy and matters like these must be in the public domain," Dhar said. While admitting that that it had a document relating to Shastri’s death, the PMO also said there was no record of any destruction or loss of documents in the PMO having a bearing on Shastri’s death.
Dhar, who has launched a website to lobby for declassification policy along the lines of the US’s also asked if India had any information given by the Soviets. The home ministry is yet to respond to queries whether India conducted a post-mortem and if the government had investigated allegations of foul play.
In Russia for the India-Pakistan summit, Shastri was awakened by a severe coughing fit on January 11. R N Chugh came to his aid. Shastri was unable to speak and pointed to a flask kept nearby. A staffer brought some water which the former PM sipped. Shortly afterwards, Shastri became unconscious and attempts to revive him proved futile. The Russian butler attending to him was arrested on suspicion of poisoning Shastri. He was later absolved of the charges.

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