Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the inauguration of the Samsung Electronics smartphone manufacturing facility in Noida Picture: REUTERS, ADNAN ABIDI
Durban - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being investigated by the SA National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for atrocities allegedly committed by his government under his instructions in Kashmir, India.

A call for a criminal investigation into the Indian leader was made by two South African civic organisations, the Muslim Lawyers Association and the South African Kashmiri Action Group, who lodged a complaint with the prosecuting authority.

The two bodies want Modi arrested when he sets foot in the country for the BRICS Summit in Joburg later this month. Modi is one of the heads of state from the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) expected to attend the summit.

Salman Khan, the founder of the South African Kashmiri Action Group, said the NPA had already responded in writing, promising to investigate the allegations against Modi.

According to the NPA, it will focus on the report released last month by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The report focuses on the human rights’ situation in Kashmir and the developments in the Indian state from June 2016 to April 2018.

According to a letter from the NPA’s priority crimes litigation unit, the investigation will also focus on the killing of Buhran Wani on July 8, 2016, the excessive use of force during protests arising from Wani’s killing, torture, sexual violence and the killing of civilians. Khan said he was confident that something would come out of the investigation, saying the country had a strong and independent judiciary.

The Muslim Lawyers Association and the South African Kashmiri Action Group are represented by Johannesburg-based attorney Yousha Tayob who made the application on their behalf. They claim the arrest and prosecution of Modi can be done in terms of customary international law and the domestic International Criminal Court Act.

The civic groups said they were also in possession of witness statements which would be provided confidentially to the SAPS as the witnesses fear reprisals and seek protection.

The Department of International Relations and Co-operation refused to comment on the matter and on whether these developments were likely to strain relations between South Africa and India.

The office of the Indian High Commissioner in South Africa did not respond to questions sent on Monday.

The Mercury