On the third day of the three-day tour to Jammu and Kashmir, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had the bulletproof glass shield on the podium removed before speaking to the public at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) in Srinagar on Monday.

“I was taunted, condemned..,” Amit Shah said, “Today I want to speak to you frankly, which is why there is no bulletproof shield or security here… Farooq Sahab has suggested me to speak with Pakistan but I will speak to the youth and & people of the Valley.”

The Home Minister, after removing the shied, said that he wanted to speak to the people of Jammu and Kashmir directly. He is on a visit to Jammu and Kashmir — his first since the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 — remotely inaugurated several development projects and laid the foundation stone of some.

“The repealing of Article 370 had only one intention — to put Kashmir, Jammu and newly created Ladakh (Union Territory) on the path of development. You will see the fruits of our efforts by 2024,” he said.

The article, which granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, was abrogated in August 2019 and the state was bifurcated into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Shah inaugurated a 500-bed hospital at Bemina, completed at a cost of Rs 115 crore, laid the foundation stone for the Handwara Medical College, a Rs 46-crore steel girder bridge over the Ferozepur Nallah in Baramulla district and road projects worth Rs 4,000 crore, among others.