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New investigative agency created in Kashmir

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The Jammu and Kashmir administration has given permission for the formation of a new investigative body called the State Investigation Agency (SIA). Questions are being raised that why this was done at a time when there is no elected government in the state and the Legislative Assembly is dissolved. According to the notification of the administration, the work of the SIA is to investigate all the cases related to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir by NIA and other Will have to work in collaboration with central agencies. The CID branch of the state police will be headed by its director and the rest of the officers will be deputed from other departments from time to time. All the police stations in the state have been told that as soon as they register any case related to terrorism, they will have to inform the SIA about it. Even during the investigation of a simple case, if any connection with terrorism emerges, then the SIA has to be told about that too. The result of Shah’s visit? No new law has been introduced for the new agency, but it will operate under the provisions of several existing laws. These include many sections of IPC, UAPA, Explosive Substances Act etc. State level investigative agencies like CID, CIK, Crime Branch, SOG are already active in Kashmir. Apart from these, central investigative agencies like NIA and ED have also been investigating terrorism and money laundering cases related to terrorism.

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It is being told that the new agency has been formed to investigate the cases which will not be handed over to the NIA. The announcement of the formation of the new agency has been made soon after Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Kashmir. Kashmir is currently facing a new wave of terrorist activities. It is estimated that in the month of October alone, at least 44 people died in different incidents. These include apart from terrorists, security personnel and common people are also involved. Concern for human rights, experts say that the establishment of a new agency can be seen by linking these situations. Riyaz Wani, a senior journalist living in Srinagar, says that the killing of such a large number of security personnel and common people in the latest terrorist incidents has become a matter of great concern for the administration. He told DW that the administration is also concerned about the potential impact on Kashmir of the Taliban seizing power in Afghanistan, and that the new move could be inspired by that concern as well. Human rights activists in Kashmir have long opposed human rights violations through forced searches, arrests and other means under the guise of anti-terror laws.

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