The Jammu & Kashmir government’s Home Department on Monday announced the formation of the State Investigation Agency (SIA) which will be handling most high-profile terror cases. The CID Chief of J&K will head the agency as its Director. The newly formed SIA will coordinate closely with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which has its headquarters in New Delhi.

The major announcement comes days after Home Minister Amit Shah concluded his four-day Jammu & Kashmir visit. In his meeting with the top security brass, Shah had emphasised that no space can be given to separatism in Kashmir and asked J&K Police to lead efforts for a fresh focused approach towards countering terrorists and their entire network while brushing up their human intelligence on ground.

This is big. Ever since NIA coordinated raids in 2017 in Kashmir which crippled Pakistan sponsored separatism, a need was felt for a separate security wing to deal with terror related cases. J&K gets a new State Investigation Agency (SIA) as nodal Agency to coordinate with NIA.— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) November 1, 2021

Shah had expressed his displeasure over the recent civilian killings in Kashmir and asked J&K Police and security forces in a strong tone to strictly eliminate terrorism. The home minister, in the security review meeting, sent out a message indicating that J&K Police cannot be seen as a weak force under any circumstances and the officers will have to recalibrate their counter-terror strategy accordingly.

Ever since the NIA coordinated raids in 2017 in Kashmir which crippled Pakistan-sponsored separatism, a need was felt for setting up a separate security wing to deal with terror-related cases. J&K’s State Investigation Agency would be responsible for investigating all offences having terrorism linkages, all terrorist acts, including terror financing, and circulation of high-quantity fake Indian currency. The cases under UAPA and Explosive Substances Act shall also come under them among other similar acts.

The present Special Director General of Police (DGP) Rashmi Ranjan Swain as the J&K CID Chief has been closely monitoring the establishment of the SIA. Swain, for over a year, has been at the forefront of acting against the roots of separatism and terror in the Valley, choking the separatists and their networks. The top cop has also successfully acted against Over Ground Workers (OGWs) as well as government officials engaged in terror activities silently.

The SIA will have CID, CIK, and CIJ as notified police stations for the purposes of registering and investigation of cases that fall under the domain of the new agency. However, some new officers are likely to be inducted into the agency which will get a special incentive of 25% of the basic pay to all the employees posted in the SIA.

The announcement of the SIA also comes at a time when J&K NIA Chief Rakesh Balwal, a 2012 IPS of the Manipur Cadre, has been deputed to J&K Cadre for three years. Balwal, who has been instrumental in cracking the Pulwama terror attack case and multiple high-profile terror related cases with roots across the border in Pakistan, is known to be a top choice for leading the coordination and establishment of the SIA as its SSP.

SSP CID (Counter Intelligence) Altaf Ahmad Khan who was cleared for induction into the IPS earlier this year is another top choice for the post. Khan has played instrumental role in his current profile and earlier as SSP Anantnag in several counter-terror operations. He is likely to be elevated to DIG rank soon.

The formation of the SIA is likely to strengthen the J&K Police to tighten noose around the separatist-terror nexus and its over ground network in the Valley.