Today i.e. 18th February, 2020 marks the 37th anniversary of one of the worst-ever genocides committed in post-1947 India against Muslims in Assam, that is, the Nellie Massacre. Close to four decades have passed, and not even a single assailant has so far been convicted, yet alone prosecuted, for this heinous atrocity.
Officially 1,819 and unofficially over 3,000 Muslims were driven out of their homes and massacred on the fields of Nellie and 13 other villages by a mob carrying country guns and machetes. Houses were razed down to the ground and fields were destroyed. A significant number of those who died that day were women, children and the elderly who could not run fast enough to save their lives.
Though multiple reasons are attributed to the Nellie Massacre, the primary reason was that the activists of All Assam Students Union (AASU). AASU members wanted the expulsion of all the so-called “illegal migrants” from Assam and the removal of their names from the voters’ list. But despite ressistance from groups like AASU and the general public, the then Congress government at the Centre opposed the deletion of the names of such ‘foreigners’ from the electoral rolls and decided to call for Assembly elections in Assam in February 1983.
The most shocking was the role of Government and the media towards such a horrific incident that should shame the entire humanity.
One has to let such events take their own course before stepping in.
“One has to let such events take their own course before stepping in.”: This was the reply of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when she was asked why she had not acted earlier to stop the violence. The Indian media back then chose to maintain a conspicuous silence on the Nellie Massacre, save for few journalists like Hemendra Narayan’s monograph “ 25 Years on…. Nellie Still Haunts’
The Governments apathy toward the Nellie Massacre can be summed up by the fact that even though they set up Tewary Commission for investigating the violence, the report has not been made public till now.
The Nellie Massacre is another entity in the long list of genocides against Muslims in India. And the response of judiciary, media and political systems to sweep these under the carpet is shameful. Forget about justice, the victims of violence are still wating for acknowledgment of the grotesque incident that has left a wound too deep to heal. Image source: Google.