Lal Bahudur Shastri’s death even after 50 years remains a mystery and the family is still waiting for justice. The great Prime Minister of the country saw an unfortunate end in the Russia. The sad part was the then Indira Gandhi government took no interest to investigate the case nor did it reveal details of the cause of death.
After emergency, the Janata government for the first time set up an enquiry commission headed by Ram Narain. But it is said that the commission failed to come to any conclusions and the entire report was submitted to parliament which was lost either due to carelessness or on purpose. The documents were said to have been burnt down by the successive government which was again Indira Gandhi’s government.
During the enquiry, the two people who were very close to Lal Bahudur Shastri were his personal doctor R N Chugh and his servant Ram Nath were asked to give testimony in the floor of the house on the events that occurred on the day of Shastri’s death. But what stunned everyone was when R N Chugh was traveling to Delhi by road to attend the Parliament session, he was hit mysteriously by a truck in which he, his wife were both killed. Only his daughter survived the accident. while Ram Nath came to Delhi and visited Shastriji’s wife and confessed saying “Bahut Din Ka Bojh Tha, Amma Aaj Sab Bata Denge” (I have been carrying this burden for long, I will reveal everything today). But as soon as Ram Nath left from Motilal Nehru residence to Parliament, he was hit by a moving vehicle and his legs were crushed which were later amputated and was reported to have lost memory.
So, both of them could not testify on events on Shastri’s death and ultimately the entire issue was buried.
But there has been a continuous demand by many people to declassify the files related to Shastri’s death which have gone unheard. But after Modi government came to power, there lies a sense of hope that PM Modi may take interest to declassify the files of Lal Bahadur Shastri which may reveal the real cause of his death.
An RTI application filed sometime back, has made the CIC (Central Information Commission) to reopen the case of Shastri. The CIC which received the RTI, has directed the central public information officers of the Prime Minister’s Office, external affairs ministry and home ministry to place all records and documents pertaining to Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death to Prime Minister and Home Minister who will take a call to declassify the documents. The RTI application filed seeks to know if autopsy was performed on Shastri, after his death on January 11, 1966 in Tashkent.
In this regard, the commission made a statement saying “In view of the startling incidents that followed the mysterious death, such as killing of his personal doctor and assistant in two separate ‘accidents’, disappearance of records of Rajya Sabha Committee’s probe, and various significant points raised by journalists… Shastri’s wife Lalitha, other family members, the Commission is of opinion that the Union government has a duty to explain the nation why and how Lal Bahadur Shastri died in Tashkent,” he said.
The documents will be now placed before the Prime Minister and Home Minister apparently for the first time and they are likely going to decide whether the files will be soon made public. It is indeed the fundamental right of the family members to know the real cause of death and the decisions taken by the successive government to solve the death mystery of the former Prime Minister of India.
The present government has infact got a very good opportunity to declassify the files and reveal what exactly lead to Shastri’s death that stunned the Nation.