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The Nellie massacre took place in Assam during a six-hour period in the morning of February 18, 1983. The massacre claimed the lives of 2,191 people (unofficial figures run at more than 5,000) from 14 villages—Alisingha, Khulapathar, Basundhari, Bugduba Beel, Bugduba Habi, Borjola, Butuni, Indurmari, Mati Parbat, Muladhari, Mati Parbat no. 8, Silbheta, Borburi and Nellie—of Nagaon district. Most of the victims were women and children belonging to the Muslim community from Bangladesh who had migrated to the region during Bangladesh war. A group of media personnel passing by the region were witness to the massacre.
The massacre was one of many violent incidents during the infamous 1983 elections conducted in the midst of the Assam Agitation. The elections were declared against the wishes of the Assam Agitation leaders who did not want an election till the electoral rolls were cleansed of illegal immigrants. In the 1985 Assam Accord, which ended the agitation, that election was set aside and new elections were declared.
The government gave the survivors of Nellie compensation for each death of as little as 5,000 rupees, contrasted for instance with Rs. 7 lakhs that have been paid to survivors of the Sikh carnage of a year later in 1984.Six hundred and eighty eight criminal cases were filed in connection with Nellie organised massacre and of these 310 cases were charge-sheeted. The remaining 378 cases were closed due to the police claim of “lack of evidence”. But all the 310 charge-sheeted cases were dropped by the AGP government as a part of Assam Accord; therefore not a single person has even had to face trial for the gruesome massacre.
A Commission of Inquiry was instituted under Tribhubhan Prasad Tiwary, the report of which has not been made public. There is enough evidence to suggest that successive local governments, belonging to both the Congress and the AGP, have suppressed information about the massacre.
it is 26 years since Nellie massacre in Assam It is 26 years since Nellie massacre in Assam where thousands of Muslims were killed in a single night. The affects of the massacres can still be felt on the psyche of the Muslim community. They still await justice from India’s judiciary. Government does not give them hope. As they have been neglected after successive governments, both at the state level and from central governments. But judiciary specially India’s highest court still gives them hope.
They don’t have resources to fight the cases, most of them being poor labourers, but hope that India’s Supreme Court opens the cases suo moto.
Indian Muslims have a very short memory. It is barely twenty-one years when more than three thousand Muslims were slaughtered in Nellie, in Nagaon district of Assam in a single day but no one seems to remember the mass killings of the poor Assamese Muslims.
Young Muslim men don’t seem to have heard of the case at all and Muslim leaders behave as if they too are unaware of Nellie. No voice is heard and no debate takes place on what happened to the enquiry commission report submitted to the government. The issue is not raised at all. So justice is a far cry.
In February 1983, 3,300 people were killed in a single day. As per official records, the six hour long attack on Nellie began at 10 am and left at least 1,800 persons dead. Records in the Jagiroad police station put the number of killed in the riots at Dungbari, Muladhari, Borpolah, Silbheti and Mati-parbat at 2,191. But the actual figures are said to be higher, 3,300 according to some estimates. Their only sin was that they voted for Indira Gandhi who had given them assurances, that they need not fear any retaliation. About 1,668 people were arrested in connection with the mass murder.
Tewari Commission, constituted to probe the riot submitted its 600-page report to the Assam government in May 1984, the then Congress government, headed by Hiteswar…