Remembering victims of Nellie massacre

By Anjuman Ara Begum,,

Editor- Today is the 28th anniversary of Nellie massacre that took place in broad daylight on February 18th, 1983. Thousands of Muslims were killed. Their only crime was that they exercised their democratic right to vote. TCN wants to pay homage to the unsung victims of Nellie.

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Assam: Memory is a mental activity of recalling information that one learns or experiences in life. Memory can be short term as well as long term. Short term memory is one that remains in the temporarily. On the other hand long term memory is a procedural one that remains for a long time or permanently in the mind either consciously or unconsciously. The long term memories of the victims of the Nellie victims are very much permanent.

Yet another year passed by for the victims of Nellie massacre. Each day Nellie victims are haunted by the memories of the massacre that took place long back on February 18, 1983. “We cry when we remember that day and I feel as if it happened the other day. Memory is so fresh in my mind.’

Memories of violence may impact ones reaction and may cause inaction on instance which may be otherwise severely disturbing. “We have seen so many dead bodies that when Mumbai terror attack [at Hotel Taj and other places] killed 200 people, we hardly felt anything. It was very less than what we saw on that [February 18, 1983] day’, said an old man in Nellie.

It is also not only difficult but seemingly impossible to forget the memories of large scale violence. Over the years victims of Nellie tried hard to forget the horror memories but its not possible for many till their last breath. A female [unidentified] who was severally wounded during the massacre shared that she still weeps whenever she remembers the day. ‘’I was attacked with big machete and the attackers left me when they thought that I am dead. I didn’t die but the wound made me physically handicapped. I still can’t walk properly. I will never forget that day as I will never walk properly’.

Hundreds of such stories are still echoing in the air of Nellie. Human being always lives with hopes and aspiration. An old man in Nellie said, ‘we continue to live in Nellie even after this large scale massacre. People consoled us saying that it was a ‘breeze’ that came and left. We have to rebuild our lives’.

As another year passes by, victims of Nellie look forward with hope for better days and constantly try to forget the horror temporarily though not permanently.

Read Part 1: Names of the people killed
Part 2: Recounting the horror: Narrations of the fateful day
Part 3: Genesis of Anti-foreigners movement in Assam
Part 4: Who is responsible for Nellie massacre?
Part 5: Crime but no punishment
Part 6: Current situation in Nellie