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By A Newsman

Kolkata, 23 September: WEST Bengal government will declassify the Cabinet papers of pre-independence undivided Bengal provincial government next Monday, 28 September.

“As part of our continuous effort towards greater transparency in governance, we intend to place the Cabinet papers for the period 1938-1947 in the public domain on and from September 28 for use by historians, researchers and the general public,” Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted on Wednesday.

Bengal information and cultural affairs (I&CA) department principal secretary Atri Bhattacharya said that the Cabinet papers will be handed over to the West Bengal Assembly and the State Archives both in digitised form and in replicas. I&CA department is now busy in digitising the papers.

“For the general public to access, the same will be kept at the Kolkata Information Centre (KIC) in Rabindra Sadan complex,” Bhattacharya said. KIC is located on AJC Bose Road in central Kolkata. “The Cabinet papers which are as old as 68 to 77 years, are all in English,” he added.

The papers relate to the Cabinets of the first elected prime minister of then Bengal province Abul Kasem Fazlul Huq, his successors Khawaja Nazimuddin and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy. Back then the elected head of the province used to be called prime minister and not chief minister.

Fazlul Huq was in office from 1 April 1937 – 29 March 1943, Khawaja Nazimuddin from 29 April 1943 – 31 March 1945, and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy from 3 July 1946 to till India got independence on 15 August 1947.

Declassification of the old Cabinet papers might throw up crucial insights into a tumultuous time when the undivided Bengal witnessed a famine in 1943 and the Great Calcutta Killings (communal riot) of 1946.

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