Srinagar: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is planning to open a full-fledged office in Jammu and Kashmir to keep an eye on “militant activities in Kashmir”, a senior government official said.
“The government has expanded the activities of the NIA as it plans to open more offices in north India.
“In north India, the two offices will be opened in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, and another might be opened in Himachal Pradesh. Jammu will house the NIA headquarters from where operations will be supervised in all the three states. That way, the office of the NIA in the state will have a greater significance.”
The official said the need to open the office in the “border state” (Jammu and Kashmir)arose as the bulk of the cases handled by the investigative agency belong to this state.
“Militant activities and hawala money are rampant in the state. Subversive activities often surface in the state. So it makes it more important for the NIA to focus on Jammu and Kashmir,” the official said. “As such, the investigating agency will have more work in the state. It needs an office and the court. The NIA court is temporarily working in Jammu.”
The official said the establishment of the NIA office in the state will take some time, even as he added that the temporary NIA camp was operational in Jammu and Kashmir and operates on a need basis.
For the purpose of handling cases related to Kashmir, the state home department issued an order sending 16 police officials on deputation with the NIA office, which will become operational in Jammu.
The 16 policemen include Superintendent of Police Abdul Qayoom, deputy Superintendents of Police Purshotam Mengi and Baljit Singh, Inspectors Ranbir Singh, Om Parkash, Neeraj Sharma, and Amit Basur.
“All of them have exemplary service in the police. That is why they were chosen,” the official said.
Despite repeated attempts, NIA spokesman Alok Mittal was not available for comment.
The establishment of an NIA office in the state holds significance in view of their ongoing investigations over hawala money allegedly received from Pakistan by the pro-freedom groups to conduct alleged “subversive activities in Kashmir”.
Recently, the NIA formally arrested seven pro-freedom leaders and produced them before a Delhi court on charges of receiving hawala money and indulging in subversive activities such as stone-pelting on security forces, burning down schools, damaging public property and waging war against India.
Apart from this, the NIA has been dealing with several militancy-related cases in Kashmir like the Uri militant attack, which claimed the lives of 19 soldiers, and the 2016 Ramban attack on a BSF convoy.
The NIA is a central investigating agency which was established by the government of India to “combat terror” in the country. It is empowered to deal with “terror-related crimes across states without special permission from the states”. The Agency came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008, passed by the Parliament of India on 31 December 2008.