National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah on Sunday expressed surprise over Union Home Minister Amit Shah's statement that Jammu and Kashmir's statehood would be restored after assembly elections.
He said "urges and aspirations of people have to be satiated for lasting peace" in the Union territory.
Mr Abdullah expressed surprise over the logic being advanced by the central leadership that the statehood will be restored after completion of the delimitation of constituencies and holding of elections.
"It is strange," he said and recalled the all-party meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi a few months ago in which he took up these issues.
"Modi had at that point of time asserted that the gap between New Delhi and J-K would have to be bridged by winning over the hearts~CHECK~ Hearts cannot be won by undermining the status of Jammu and Kashmir, which was bifurcated and then downgraded," the NC leader said while addressing a public meeting at Mendhar in Poonch district.
Defending the BJP-led NDA government's decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special status, Mr Shah had on Saturday said August 5, 2019 was written in golden letters in the history of Kashmir.
He had reiterated that elections would be held in J-K after the delimitation exercise to be followed by restoration of statehood.
"Elections will happen. (Politicians from Kashmir want that the) Delimitation be stopped. Why? Because it hurts their politics. Now, such things will not stop in Kashmir.
"The youth of Kashmir will get opportunities, so a right delimitation will be done, which will be followed by elections and then the status of the statehood will be restored. I have said this in the country''s Parliament and this is the roadmap," Shah had said.
Abdullah further said it must have happened for the first time that a state is transformed and downgraded as a Union territory.
"The urges and aspirations of the people have to be satiated for lasting peace," he underlined.
Pitching for India-Pakistan dialogue, the NC president said peace in the region will remain elusive unless a conducive atmosphere is made for talks between the two neighboring countries.
He also decried attempts of dividing the society for political gains and said this is not good for the unity of the country and integration of people.
"The nation cannot afford to get fragmented into bits and pieces on the basis of religion. Elections were not to be fought on religion, as these provide an opportunity to put in place responsive governments which serve the people in terms of development and economic emancipation," he said.
The former chief minister expressed grave concern over loss of life, and damage to standing crops and orchards due to heavy downpour, hailstorm and stormy winds across Jammu and Kashmir.
Mr Abdullah, who is on a four-day visit to Jammu Province, also sought an exhaustive assessment by expert panels on the damage caused, saying preliminary relief in terms of financial assistance should be provided to the affected till the assessment is completed.
He also sought immediate release of compensation to the family of those killed.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)