The Nellie Massacre was a tragic incident that occurred on February 18, 1983, in the village of Nellie in the Indian state of Assam. The incident resulted in the deaths of more than 10,000 people (as per government records 2,191), mostly children, women & elderly people. It is widely considered one of the worst cases of communal violence against Muslims in India’s modern history after Gujarat pogrom.
On the day of the massacre, a mob of armed men, mostly members of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) , a regional political party, attacked the predominantly Muslim village of Nellie, killing men, women, and children indiscriminately. The attack continued for several hours, and the victims’ bodies were later found in mass graves.
The ground of this massacre was laid by none other than Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who made a highly inflammatory and provocative statement few days before the gruesome incident, while addressing an election rally in that area.
According to media reports, Vajpayee, who was the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the time, made the following statement at this rally:
“Agar yeh Assam mein hote aur Punjab mein aate, to Punjab mein inka kya hota? Zinda toh bach gaye hote hi nahi. (If these [illegal immigrants) had come to Assam and gone to Punjab, what would have happened to them in Punjab? They would not have been alive.)”
The statement was seen as major contributing factor to the already tensed and volatile situation in Assam. Vajpayee remark appeared to suggest that the violent targeting of illegal immigrants was an acceptable response.
In the aftermath of the Nellie Massacre, a commission of inquiry was set up to investigate the incident and identify those responsible for the violence. However, the report of the commission was never made public, and no one has been held accountable for the killings to this day. However, the President of the Asom Gana Parishad, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, later became chief minister of Assam.
Now, Assam is more volatile and policies adopted by the ruling party BJP is more dangerous than the previous one. Assam is already witnessing a human rights crisis and heading towards a genocide of Muslim community.