Declassify documents on Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death, says ex-PM’s son

Declassify documents on Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death, says ex-PM’s son
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Chandigarh: Lal Bahadur Shastri’s son and Congress leader Anil Shastri Friday said the NDA government should declassify all documents related to the death of the former prime minister to “clear the air once and for all” around the circumstances of his passing away in 1966.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the release of a Punjabi translation of the book “Lal Bahadur Shastri: Lessons in Leadership”, the original version of which is in English and has been penned by Pavan Choudary with anecdotes given by Anil Shastri.

“We want all documents pertaining to Shastriji’s death to be declassified,” Anil Shastri said here while addressing the media.

The English version of the book was earlier released by the Dalai Lama.

Lal Bahadur Shastri died in Tashkent on January 11, 1966, at the age of 61, soon after signing the Tashkent Pact with Pakistan. It was maintained that Shastri died of cardiac arrest but his family had alleged foul play.

“Many things have been said about the way he died, even yesterday a young man walked to me at Delhi airport and asked me how my father had died. Family members and common public still have suspicion because the circumstances in which Shastriji died were uncommon…,” Anil said.

He said the findings of the Raj Narain Committee, constituted in 1977 to look into the mysterious death of then prime minister Shastri, should also be made public.

“When BJP was in opposition, one of their major demands was that the documents related to Shastriji’s death be declassified. Today, I am not asking as a politician, but as a son. Although they have been in power for the past four years, they have not done so although files related to Subhas Chandra Bose were recently declassified.

“If the prime minister can take a decision on this and release the findings of the Raj Narain committee report and declassify documents related to Shastriji’s death, I think once and for all, it would clear the air,” Anil said.

He said he had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this a year back, stating, “there is doubt in people’s mind surrounding Shastriji’s death and the only way to clear it is to declassify the documents”. He added that he was yet to receive a reply.

Anil said the previous government refused to reveal information saying they were classified documents.