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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid