The State Investigation Agency will be the nodal agency for coordinating with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and other central agencies to take measures for speedy investigation and prosecution of terrorism-related cases in the Union Territory.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on November 1 announced creation of a new investigating agency, the State Investigation Agency (SIA), to probe terrorism-related cases. The announcement comes days after union home minister Amit Shah visited the Union Territory (UT).

Here is a primer on the SIA, its structure, and function:

What Is The SIA?

The SIA will be the nodal agency for coordinating with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and other central agencies and will take measures as may be necessary (for) speedy and effective investigation and prosecution of terrorism-related cases, read the order regarding the constitution of the new agency issued by UT’s home department on November 1.

The agency will function separately from the criminal investigation department and allied agencies working in the UT. This “specialised investigation” agency will take up terror cases not referred to the NIA, according to some reports.

The Structure And The Operation

The SIA will comprise of a director and officers and employees as deputed by the government, according to the order. An SIA directorate will be set up in the UT with the head of the CID wing as its ex-officio director. The director will, to the extent it pertains to the functioning of the SIA, exercise powers as specified by the government.

All the officers in charge of police stations have been asked to mandatorily intimate the SIA upon registration of terrorism-related cases, including those cases where any terror link is established in the course of the investigation.

In cases where the investigation is not taken up by the NIA, J&K’s director general of police (DGP) can determine in consultation with the SIA whether the case is fit to be investigated by SIA and transfer the investigation of such case at any point of time during its probe.

“In such cases, where the investigation is not transferred to the SIA, the police has to keep SIA in the loop about the progress of investigation at regular intervals,” the order reads.

The SIA Purview

Offences under different sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC), Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, SAARC Convention (Suppression of Terrorism) Act, Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, Anti-Hijacking Act, 2016, Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation Act, 1982, among others, come under the purview of the agency.

Apart from these, all terrorist acts including terrorist financing and circulation of high-quality fake Indian currency notes cases, larger conspiracy cases linked to terrorism, financing and terrorism-related cases under the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act, and kidnapping and murder cases, thefts/extortion, ATM/bank robbery cases linked to terrorism will also be handled by the agency.

The agency will also deal with cases relating to terrorist-linked propaganda, false narrative, large-scale incitement, spreading of disaffection, and enmity against the Indian Union, according to the order.

The Amit Shah Visit Link

The announcement of the setting up of the new agency comes a little more than a week after Union home minister Amit Shah’s first visit to Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 granting special status to the erstwhile state. During the visit, Shah reviewed the security situation in Kashmir in detail.

The UT had witnessed a spate of civilian killings ahead of Shah’s recent visit. On October 17, terrorists had shot dead two workers from Bihar and injured another after barging into their accommodation in Kulgam in south Kashmir.