Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday had a bulletproof glass shield removed before addressing a public gathering in Srinagar and told the crowd that he wanted "to speak to the people directly".
Amit Shah was seen in videos walking onto the stage at the Sher-e-Kashmir convention centre with Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and ordering the bulletproof shield removed. Security personnel were seen dismantling the glass cover under the Lt Governor's supervision.
Later, the Home Minister referred to it in his speech.
"I was taunted, condemned... Today I want to speak to you frankly, which is why there is neither bullet proof shield nor security here. I am standing before you like this," said Amit Shah, who was wearing a pheran traditionally worn by Kashmiris.
"Farooq (Abdullah) Sahab suggested we should speak to Pakistan but I want to make it clear to Farooq Sahab and to you - I will speak to the youth and the people of the Valley," he said.
Amit Shah is on a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, his first since August 2019, when he announced in parliament the scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and the downgrading of the state to two Union Territories. Before that, he had visited Kashmir just after taking over as Union Home Minister after the BJP retained power in 2019.
"Behind the Article 370 repeal there was only one intention - to put Kashmir, Jammu and the newly-created Ladakh on the path to development. You will see the fruits of our efforts by 2024," said the Home Minister.
Later, Amit Shah pressed on with his outreach by greeting the crowd up close.
The Home Minister's visit comes after a series of terror attacks targeting non-civilians in Kashmir. According to government officers, the visit is meant to reassure people and send across the message that Jammu and Kashmir is safe for everyone, including those from outside the state.
Massive security arrangements have been made for the visit with 5,000 more security personal posted in the Kashmir Valley.
After arriving in Srinagar on Saturday, he met with the family of a police officer killed by terrorists earlier this year and reviewed the security situation in Kashmir.
He also visited a temple in Ganderbal and addressed a public rally.
"The time for sidelining the people of Jammu has come to an end and now both Kashmir and Jammu will be developed together," Amit Shah was quoted as saying.