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Feb 18, 2013 at 12:00pm IST

Assam: 1983 Nellie massacre survivors still await justice; most cases dropped by police

Nellie: Thirty years after the Nellie massacre in Assam, in which almost 1800 people were hacked, the survivors still wait for justice. With most cases dropped by the police, and pittance of compensation paid, the victims have also lost all hope for justice.

It has been a 30-year wait for justice for Alekjan Bibi, who is one of the survivors of the carnage that took place in Assam in 1983. At least 1,800 people, including children and women, were hacked to death.

Their eyes were gouged out; bodies were punctured and limbs chopped off. People were left to die in the open field. Some say the toll in the massacre exceeded 3,000.

In 1983, in a charged atmosphere during the Assam agitation, the All Assam Students Union had given a boycott call to state elections. The people of Nellie had defied the call and went to cast their vote on 14 February. The attack took place on February 18, 1983.

"People were asking us not to vote for 10-15 days. The attack began on Friday morning and from all corners. They set fire to houses. We ran towards the open field. They hacked people to death," said Mohammed Mofissudin, who lost 10 members of his family that day.

The fingers point at a mixed group that includes Lalung tribals from the area for the attach. But there are almost no details on individuals. While 688 cases were registered, the police submitted only 310 chargesheets, and later out of those, most cases were dropped.

"There were no arrests. In all these years we have received only Rs 5,000," said Taizul Haque, Nellie massacre survivor. Apart from monetary compensation, nothing much was done for the victims of what is one of post-independent India's worst violence. Today in Assam, illegal migration remains a key election issue and it has often been hijacked by different groups to brutally target bonafide citizens.

"I have been here since 1942. My father and great grandfather also used to stay here," Haque added. As the mass graveyard remain a silent witness to the horror of 18 February, it appears to be a massacre India has forgotten after.