REMEMBERING THE NELLIE MASSACRE What happened at Nellie in Assam's Morigaon district in 1983; it was a horrible tragedy in which hundreds, if not thousands, of Muslims were killed. Their bodies, men, women, children, were left lying among the dry paddy fields on a clear February day during an Assembly election opposed by agitators demanding the ouster of illegal migrants. The victims of the massacre were Bengali-speaking Muslims In February 1983, Shekar Gupta as Indian Express correspondent in the North-East, broke the story of the massacre of 3,500 people in the village of Nellie in Assam. On 18 February 1983 over 1800 Indian Muslims were brutally murdered in the Nagaon district of Assam. Even infants and children were not spared Shekar Gupta wrote in 2005: "At this point, please allow me to dig a little into the memories of my reporting years. In February 1983, then as this newspaper's correspondent in the North-East, I broke the story of the massacre of 3,500 people in the village of Nellie in Assam. On a visit to Delhi subsequently, I was taken by my editors then to meet Goenka. ''You young fellow, you are doing a good job," said the old man, always parsimonious with praise. And then he added, "I liked that language in of your story...taking a walk across is an act of courage. Must have been tough looking at so many dead and injured?" "Looking back 22 years, yes, it was an act of courage. As it was to drive to Guwahati airport, in a blood-stained white shirt, to hand over the roll of film from my Minolta to a Delhi-bound Indian Airlines pilot and then finding a telex machine in a strike-hit telegraph office to file the story at a time when STD was a luxury and fax not yet invented. But even today, nobody has been called to account. That massacre, entirely of poor Muslims, has gone un-investigated. Nobody remembers it, nobody complains that everybody got away. Today, if such a thing were to happen again, God forbid, there is sufficient institutional and political awakening in India to ensure there will not be such an easy forget, if not forgive as this paper's coverage of the 2002 Gujarat killings (for which it got the International Press Institute award) has shown", wrote Sekhar Gupta..
Following the unprecedented murders and mayhem in the state, one-member TD Tewary commission was set up to investigate these violent incidents including the Nellie massacre by the then chief minister of Assam, Mr Hiteswar Saikia. The commission submitted its 600-page report in May 1984. But the enquiry report has been kept secret till today. It has been lying buried in the heaps of government files for the last 18 years. But the worst memories of Nellie massacre are still haunting the minority community of Assam.
While the survivors of the Nellie carnage have been waiting for justice all these years, the perpetrators of the heinous crime are still at large. The AGP and Congress governments have, so far, not shown any inclination to make the Tewary commission report public and to punish the culprits.
But the nation too has forgotten the unfortunate Nellie victims and their relatives. There has been no organization to fight for their cause in their own country. Are they not entitled to justice under the law of the land? Will Fr. Cederick answer this question?
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