"The marginal and highly fragile tribal communities should not be disturbed in the name of development, lest they get destroyed as has happened in the past as a result of attempts to assimilate them," Mukherjee said inaugurating the Andaman and Nicobar Tribal Research Institute (ANTRI).
"Any assimilation should come from within, not be imposed from outside," he said.
Mukherjee said institutions like ANTRI should guide policy makers on how to avoid decisions which are contrary to the natural instincts and practices of the tribals.
"Policy should not be static but adjusted as per developments," he said.
He also appreciated ANTRI's plans to create a non-conventional museum.
Mukherjee said institutions like ANTRI should guide policy makers
"Such a museum should not be for tourism or commercial exploitation of artefacts and handicrafts of tribals. Instead, it should encourage the tribals to tell their own stories and through this process help them identify their needs as well as shortcomings. It should empower them to address deficiencies on their own," he said.
The president also said ANTRI should study how tribal practices have evolved over the centuries and how such practices are suited to them and provide relevant inputs for policy-making.