25 years after, Nelee wants to forget

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Nelee, Feb 18(UNI) Twentyfive years after the ghastly single day mass slaughter in independent India, Nelee wants to forget everything and move on.

For the record, 1,891 people were butchered in a mayhem lasting more than three hours at Nelee, an hour and a half's hour drive from Guwahati, on this day a quarter century ago when the Assam agitation was at its peak.

The victims were Muslim immigrants and attackers were nearby tribal people. Tension between the communities had escalated following the former's participation in the Assembly election which was boycotted by majority of Assam's population.

Rahim Faqir, a three-year-old then, survived as the attackers thought he was dead. His mother, sister and elder brother were hacked to death. He was in the arms of his dead mother crying when the police recovered him from a heap of bodies.

Now a struggling young small-time businessman, he does not want to remember those traumatic days.

None of the present Nelee villagers in fact remember the day, till a goup of journalists reached there to remind them about the fateful day.

Arguably it was the most horrific killings of the past decades.

It brought the entire Assam agitation to international limelight which culminated into the signing of the Assam Accord two year later, bringing a group of university students to power.

Recounting the nightmare, one of the two scribes who was accidentally in the killing field, Bedabrata Lahkar, a senior journalist with the 'Assam Tribune' said, ''Speeding down the deserted national highway we suddenly came across a fire blazing in the distance. Asking the driver to stop we decided to investigate.

Without an inkling of what was about to happen, we stepped into the worst communal conflagration in the history of Assam at Nellie, where, I presume, no less than 2,000 men and women besides, children belonging to migrant Muslim community, were butchered.'' MORE UNI MT PL SS1457

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