Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik hoisted the Indian flag at the Sher-e-Kashmir stadium in Srinagar on Thursday, on the occasion of India’s 73rd Independence Day. Restrictions in Kashmir, put in place on August 4, a day before the Indian government scrapped the special status of the state, were eased on Wednesday to allow public and traffic movement, The Indian Express reported.
“The changes that the central government has brought are not only historic but also open a new door for the development of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh,” Malik said his speech according to ANI. “I assure the people of Jammu and Kashmir that their identity is not on the line, it hasn’t been tampered with. The Constitution of India allows different regional identities to flourish.”
“These changes have removed the hurdles for economic development and prosperity,” Malik said, according to PTI. “In the last 70 years, people were led astray from the main issues of economic development, peace and prosperity. Instead of paying attention to these issues people were misled on issues which are irrelevant to their lives.”
The function was also attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
Malik assured that the government is committed to the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley. “I firmly believe that the complete return of Kashmiri migrants to the Valley is possible only with the support and cooperation of all stakeholders including the civil society of the Valley who share a social and cultural bond with the Kashmiri migrants,” he said.
Malik also paid homage to the leaders who sacrificed their lives to win India freedom. He paid homage to Jammu and Kashmir police officers, Central Armed Police Forces and Indian Army personnel who sacrificed their lives for the country.
The governor also said the Centre has a zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism. There is a sharp decline in terror recruitment and incidents of stone pelting after Friday prayers, Malik added.
The Indian Army and the Border Security Force were put on high alert across the India-Pakistan border on Wednesday, PTI reported. “Army is on alert along LoC [Line of Control] in view of the Independence Day and increased movement across LoC,” an official said. The BSF has been alerted across the International Border.
The Jammu Police have sought cooperation from the public for a secure and successful celebration of Independence Day. People have been asked to inform the police if they notice any suspicious object. They have also been asked not to carry arms and ammunition, sharp-edged weapons, hand bags, polythene bags, transistors, hand fire extinguishers, stop watch, powder, cigarettes, match boxes, lighter, cameras and similar items.