Jammu and Kashmir will have a new State Investigation Agency to probe and prosecute terror cases, the government announced on Monday.

The State Investigation Agency has been set up for specialised investigation into cases that are not referred to the National Investigation Agency, an unidentified official told The Indian Express.

“The SIA shall be the nodal agency for coordinating with the National Investigation Agency and other central agencies and shall take such other measures as may be necessary for speedy and effective investigation and prosecution of terrorism related cases,” the Jammu and Kashmir government said in an order.

The head of the Criminal Investigation Department will be from the office of the State Investigation Agency.

The agency will handle cases registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Explosive Substances Act, the Atomic Energy Act, the Anti-Hijacking Act, the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems Act and others.

It will also deal with “terrorism-related larger conspiracy cases, terrorist financing and terrorism linked NDPS [Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act] cases, terrorism-linked kidnapping and murder cases, terrorism linked propaganda, false narrative, large scale incitement, spreading of disaffection, enmity against the Indian Union”.

The Jammu and Kashmir government said that the officers in charge of police stations will immediately inform the State Investigation Agency about terror-related cases.

The director general of police will have the power to hand over a case to the agency at any point in the investigation.

“In cases where the investigation is not transferred to the SIA, the PHQ [Police Headquarters] shall ensure that the SIA is kept informed about the progress of investigation at regular intervals, preferably on fortnightly basis,” the Jammu and Kashmir government said.

The new agency was announced more than a week after Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s first visit to Jammu and Kashmir since the scrapping of the former state’s special status in August, 2019.

During the visit, Shah had reviewed the security situation in Kashmir in detail, News18 reported. He had asked officials in the Union Territory to focus on “ending terrorism”. “We have zero-tolerance for terrorism in the valley,” Shah had said, according to an unidentified official.

Kashmir witnessed a spate of civilian killings in October. As many as 11 civilians, including migrant workers, were killed by militants. The Resistance Front, believed to be an offshoot of Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, claimed responsibility for most of killings.