India

India social storm over fake Nehru 'letter' on Subhas Chandra Bose

Indian statesmen Mahatma Gandhi (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1869 - 1948) and Jawaharlal Nehru (1869 - 1964) (left), known as Pandit Nehru, in conversation at the All-India Congress committee meeting at Bombay Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jawaharlal Nehru, seen here with Mahatma Gandhi, never wrote the letter

India's first PM Jawaharlal Nehru is under fire on social media over a fake letter in which he apparently criticises Indian freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose a war criminal.

The letter dated 1945 is addressed to then British Prime Minister Clement Atlee and "signed" by Mr Nehru.

It surfaced soon after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declassified 100 files pertaining to Mr Bose.

The newly declassified files make no mention of such a letter.

Eminent Indian historian Ramachandra Guha clarified that it was a fake, but not before it went viral on social media networks in India.

The letter reads: "Dear Mr Attlee, I understand from reliable sources that Subhas Chandra Bose, your war criminal, has been allowed to enter Russian territory by Stalin. This is a clear treachery and betrayal of faith by the Russians as Russia has been an ally of the British-Americans, which she should not have done. Please take note of it and do what you consider proper and fit."

Competing hashtags

Many professed shock and anger at the language used in the letter, and some members of India's ruling BJP called on the opposition Congress, of which Mr Nehru was a leader, to apologise for the "disrespect" it had shown to Mr Bose.

On Sunday, the hashtag #NehruKilledBose was the top trend on Twitter India, while a competing hashtag #NehruBuiltModernIndia also gained traction.

The Congress party has also released an angry statement, warning that the publication of the forged document "would not be taken lightly".

The death of Mr Bose has been the subject of many conspiracy theories.

Some in India have questioned the official version of events that Bose died in an aeroplane crash in 1945.

No photograph of the body, which was said to have been cremated in Taiwan, was released.

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Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter
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Image copyright Twitter

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