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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid