Making a strong pitch to start the healing process in violence-hit Assam, President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday underlined the need to revisit the historic Assam accord and adapt it to present conditions "in the spirit of justice and national interest."
"Concrete attempts have been made to heal the wounds of Assam, including the Assam accord conceived by our young and beloved former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. We should revisit them, and adapt them to present conditions in the spirit of justice and national interest," Mukherjee said in his first address to the nation on the eve of Independence Day.
The Assam Accord was signed on August 15, 1985 by the Central government with student leaders of the Assam, who led a six-year-old movement demanding detection and deportation of illegal migrants.
Expressing his concerns over the simmering tensions between the ethnic groups, Mukherjee said, "old fires that threaten the stability of our nation have not been fully doused the ash continues to smoulder."
"Our minorities need solace, understanding and protection from aggression. Violence is not an option violence is an invitation to greater violence," he said.
He said peace was needed for a "new economic surge" in the region that can quell "competitive causes of violence".
The recent clashes between Bodos and Bangladeshi immigrants have left at least 77 people dead and more than four lakh people have been rendered homeless in the lower Assam districts.
Almost 400 villages, in the districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Dhubri and Baksa have been affected in the violence.