National / World

Shock over murder of Bengali author in Afghanistan


Kolkata, Sep 6 (IANS): The killing of Indian author Sushmita Banerjee, whose best selling book detailed the horrors she endured during Taliban rule in Afghanistan, has left literati in West Bengal "shocked" and disturbed at the "inhuman" incident.

Banerjee, 49, was abducted and shot dead by suspected Taliban gunmen in Sharan city of Afghanistan's Paktika province Wednesday night.

Banerjee, who defied her family to marry an Afghan businessman, Jaanbaz Khan, and stayed for years with him in Afghanistan, in 1998 wrote the bestselling memoir "Kabuliwalar Bangali Bou" (A Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife) offering a vivid description of the suffering of women under the Taliban. She also described her daring escape from the clutches of militants.

The book made her a household name in Bengal.

News of her death cast a gloom. Magsaysay Award winner Mahasweta Devi said: "It is tragic and I am shocked."

Noted author Shirshendu Mukherjee expressed shock over the murder, and marvelled at the courage of Banerjee. "I had read her book, but I didn't know her personally. She was a courageous woman and she faced many hardships," he said.

Sahitya Akademi awardee Shankha Ghosh told IANS: "This is shocking. If the Taliban is doing all this, then it goes against civilisation."

Banerjee had recently moved back to Afghanistan to live with her husband. According to the BBC, she was known as Sayeda Kamala.

Banerjee was also the subject of the 2003 Bollywood film, "Escape From Taliban", featuring Manisha Koirala. The film described itself as the "story of a woman who dares the Taliban".

The Afghanistan Times said in a report that gunmen kidnapped the woman, "Sahib Kamala", Wednesday night from the Sray Kala area on the outskirts of Sharan, the provincial capital of Paktika. She was found dead Thursday morning.

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