West Bengal governor sends proposal for Azad Hind regiment in Indian Army

Reigniting the 70-year-old controversy over recognition of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army for their contributions to the final leg of the independence movement, West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi on Tuesday forwarded a proposal to defence minister Manohar Parikkar for creation of a new 'Azad Hind' regiment in the Indian Army. The proposal was handed over to the West Bengal Governor by a state BJP leader.

"I share the feeling that an Azad Hind regiment should be created in the Indian Army to honour the contributions of Netaji Subhash to the independence movement. Creation of Azad Hind regiment will
boost the morale of our jawans. I will forward the proposal along with my approval to the defence minister," the Governor told the press.

The country celebrated the freedom fighter's 120th birth anniversary on Monday. There are 31 regiments in the Indian Army. The youngest regiment Sikkim Scouts was formed in 2013 and made operational in 2015. Along with Arunachal Scouts and Ladakh Scouts regiment, it recruits local youths with an aim to create regiments specialised in mountain warfare.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the truth behind Netaji's disappearance should come out. "We had declassified all Netaji files which were with the state government. Some files were there with the central government. Truth may come out if an independent investigation is conducted but unfortunately that did not happen," she said.

Azad Hind Fauj, formed by 43,000 British Indian Prisoners of War (PoW) soldiers in Singapore in 1942, was instrumental in Japanese victory in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and their march till Kohima, where a well-entrenched British Indian Army fought a bitter battle to halt the Axis advance and push back the Japanese and INA soldiers back into Burma.

A much smaller 3,000 strong Free India Legion (German: Legion Freies Indien) fought alongside Nazi German Army Wehrmacht in major battles in France and Italy.

India may face sharp criticism from the Allied nations of World War II if Azad Hind regiment is created, given the fact that though the Netaji Subhash-led militia force was not directly involved, it was ally of German and Japanese forces who had committed innumerable atrocities on people of occupied nations in
Europe and Asia


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