Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday tried to negate a Centre-Assam disconnect while promising a probe into the cause of western Assam's ethnic riots that killed 53 people and displaced 400,000 since July 20.
"I have come here to share your sorrow and pain and this is a time for healing," said Singh, while announcing a Rs. 300-crore package for relief and rehabilitation of victims and development of their areas.
He also announced Rs. 2 lakh to each of those killed and Rs. 50,000 to each of the seriously injured.
The 'unfortunate' violence that could have been 'instigated' was a blot on the face of the nation, Singh said after visiting two relief camps in Kokrajhar town, 236km west of Assam capital Guwahati.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh interacts with displaced Muslim villagers at a relief camp in Butgaon village in Assam's Kokrajhar district. AFP/Diptendu Dutta
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi accompanied him.
"The Centre and the state will work together to address the cause of the conflict," Singh said.
Riot affected people are seen at a relief camp in Kokrajhar. UNI
The assurance of cooperation between New Delhi and Assam comes a day after Gogoi slammed the Centre for reacting slowly to the tribal-migrant Muslim clashes in Bodoland Territorial Council.
Singh said he was 'saddened' by the pain and suffering of the affected people.
"The ethnic conflict must come to a stop. We are one people and one nation and we must live together as such. We must restore peace and calm throughout the area," he said.
Soon after his departure, the All Bodo Students' Union (Absu) asked why his government took so long to deploy the paramilitary forces in the restive areas.
"The damage could have been much less had the government responded promptly," Absu head Pramod Boro said.
Death toll rise to 53 in Assam | PM should reply to Gogoi's army charges: BJP