Three Andaman Islands, including the famous Havelock Island and Ross Island, will be officially renamed in honour of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visits the islands on 30 December.

While Havelock Island will be renamed Swaraj Dweep, the Ross Island will be called Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Island. A third island, Neil Island, will be renamed Shaheed Dweep.

The PM’s visit marks the 75th anniversary of Bose’s historic visit to the islands. The legendary freedom fighter, who is hailed across the nation as one of India’s greatest sons, hoisted the Indian national flag at the Gymkhana Ground (now Netaji Stadium) in Port Blair on 30 December 1943. Andaman Islands were the first Indian territory to be freed from British rule after the Japanese defeated the British forces during World War II.

At the time, Bose had named Andaman Island as Shaheed and Nicobar Island as Swaraj. Bose had also appointed INA General AD Loganathan as its Governor.

According to Hindustan Times, the decision to rename the islands, which was taken by the Home Ministry, comes over a month after West Bengal BJP vice-president Chandra Kumar Bose wrote to the PM requesting that the Andaman & Nicobar Islands be renamed ‘Shaheed and Swaraj Islands’.

Chandra Kumar Bose is Netaji’s grand nephew.

In his letter to the PM, Bose wrote: “Netaji visited the Cellular Jail, where revolutionaries and freedom fighters were interned. Extreme torture was conducted on these heroes of our freedom struggle, due to which many perished.

“It is very heartening to note that you would be hoisting the tri-colour at Gymkhana grounds, Port Blair, exactly from the same location where the first Prime Minister of United India had unfurled the flag. There has been a demand from the people of our great nation that the Government of India, rename- Andaman & Nicobar Islands as Shaheed & Swaraj Islands as named by Netaji,” he added.