"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advised us to scan, micro-film and digitize all the files...we have nothing to hide ... we are an open government (khuli kitab) ... we have already taken the decision to digitize all the files," said Singh while responding to members' concern over the destruction of 11,100 files by his ministry.
The home minister said that the government would not do anything to disturb the continuity (flow) of history. "History is not being destroyed or re-written ... Members should not worry ... their apprehensions are misplaced," he said, while clarifying that all the 11,100 files were destroyed under a well laid-down rules/procedures.
He also emphasized that many files were destroyed (weeded out) as per the decision taken by the UPA government during 2012-13.
Seeking clarification on the issue, CPM member Sitaram Yechury said, "India is the only country which has no rules on transferring the files to National Archives. We can find files of Mughal era and British period, but we can't find files of independent India."
He even wanted to know the reasons which prompted the new government to destroy the 11,100 files, if not the 1.5 lakh files alleged earlier.
The home minister, on his part, reminded the members of his suo motu statement over the allegation in Parliament on July 11.
Giving details of the status of files in the backdrop of the recent decision, Singh had, on July 11, said, "The Prime Minister had discussions with all the secretaries to government of India on June 4, where he stressed on improving work culture and work environment including hygiene and cleanliness of the work space. This was followed up by a written instruction by the cabinet secretary."
The cabinet secretary had accordingly asked the ministry that "files and papers should be weeded out in accordance with the rules of record keeping ... This exercise should be completed within three-four weeks."
"In accordance with the instructions mentioned above, files lying in the different sections of the ministry of home affairs were reviewed and a total of 11,100 files were destroyed, during the period June 5 to July 8," said Singh.
He said, "I would like to inform the august House that none of the 11,100 files so destroyed, relate to Mahatma Gandhi's assassination. This is also to inform that none of the files so destroyed, related to either Rajendra Prasad, Lal Bahadur Shastri or Lord Mountbatten as alleged by the MPs."
He also informed, "Fifty-two and 67 sets of exhibits containing 11,186 pages relating to Mahatma Gandhi assassination are in safe custody of National Archives."
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