News / Asia

    India Shocked Over Killing of Author by Suspected Taliban Militants

    In this file photo taken on March 6, 2003, Indian author Sushmita Banerjee holds one of her novels.
    In this file photo taken on March 6, 2003, Indian author Sushmita Banerjee holds one of her novels.
    Anjana Pasricha
    India says the killing of an Indian author living in Afghanistan by suspected Taliban militants reinforces the need to work with the strife-torn nation to consolidate democracy and inclusion. The 49-year-old woman from Kolkata had escaped from the Taliban 15 years ago, and wrote a popular book on it, but returned recently to live in her husband’s country.  

    As news that the bullet riddled body of Sushmita Banerjee had been found near her home in Paktika province in Afghanistan hit India, the publisher of her well known book Kabuliwala’s Bengali Wife, expressed deep shock.

    Swapan Biswas recalled his last meeting with the author in February when she had returned to Kolkata during one of her frequent visits to her hometown.

    He said she told him she was working on another compelling book on life in Afghanistan based on what she was happening in the country.  
      
    But Banerjee was never to write that book. 

    Paktika’s police chief said she was abducted by masked men and her body dumped at a madrassah early Thursday.  A Taliban spokesman has denied responsibility for her death.

    But many in India believe that the author was targeted by Taliban militants who had sentenced her to death 18 years ago for refusing to wear a burqa in public.  That happened during her seven-year stint in Afghanistan during the 1990s in the home of her husband, who was an Afghan businessman.
     
    At that time, she fled back to Kolkata and wrote a book on her traumatic experience. It was later turned into a Bollywood film, Escape from Taliban. Her escape to India was not easy - she only made her way back to her hometown after two failed attempts.

    Banerjee then spent many years in Kolkata. But she returned in January this year to live in her husband’s hometown with her in-laws.  She was well known in the area as a woman who had converted to Islam, and worked as a midwife in an area with poor health facilities.

    In New Delhi, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said her killing was a tragedy and that India stands by Afghanistan.     

    “We have one single point of view, a determination and our commitment to fight this kind of inhuman treatment, particularly of women and we stand solidly with Afghanistan to oppose this, confront it, and eliminate this kind of view," said Khurshid. "We do believe that the loss is for Afghanistan and India combined, it is not just our loss, it is theirs as well.”       

    In an article for Outlook magazine published in 1998, Banerjee had chronicled life in Afghanistan after the Taliban crackdown in 1993. She described how the Taliban was aghast that she ran a small pharmacy and dubbed her a woman of poor morals. She said listening to the radio or tape recorder was banned and women could not step out of their homes unless accompanied by their husbands.

    Publisher Biswas said he had asked Banerjee why she was returning to Afghanistan when it was going through a troubled phase. 

    He said she told him she was going back to be in her husband’s home and also with her adopted daughter who lived there.

     Banerjee, 49, did not get much time to do either.

    You May Like

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.