Amid massive security arrangements, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Thursday unfurled the national flag at Sher-i-Kashmir stadium in Srinagar on the occasion of 73rd Independence Day, the first I-Day in the Valley after the abrogation of Article 370.

This comes days after the Parliament revoked Article 370, that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories, creating unrest in parts of Kashmir.

Addressing the people of J-K, Governor Malik termed the changes brought by the Central Government as “historic” and said that it had opened a new door for the development of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

He further assured the people of the Valley that their identity was not on the line, and that it hasn’t been tampered with. The Constitution of India allows different regional identities to flourish, he said.

Malik said the government was committed to the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits, who had fled the valley in thousands in 1990 during the height of militancy when they were threatened to either convert or leave.

Malik also said that stone-pelting incidents had come down as well as the recruitment of Kashmiri youth in terror outfits.

Earlier, after unfurling the flag, the Governor inspected the parade by the security forces.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday said that the Government-imposed restrictions have been completely lifted in Jammu, while they “will continue for some more time at certain places in the Kashmir Valley”.

J-K Additional Director General of Police, Law and Order, Muneer Khan said that their primary focus is to ensure peaceful Independence Day celebrations across the state.

The remarks came a day after the Union Government said that restrictions will be eased out in a phased manner in the Valley.

Jammu and Kashmir was put under virtual curfew on 5 August when the Modi government scrapped the Article 370 and split the state into two union territories.

Tens of thousands of security personnel drawn from paramilitary forces like CRPF, BSF, SSB and ITBP, along with Jammu and Kashmir Police, were deployed, mainly in Kashmir Valley to maintain peace.

Meanwhile, almost 400 political leaders of the Valley including two former chief ministers – Omar and Mehbooba are under detention.

Earlier last week, Governor Satya Pal Malik had reviewed the prevailing security and law and order scenario in the valley. He was further informed that the overall situation in the state has remained satisfactory in all manners with no untoward incident reported from anywhere.