Two Men Arrested for Slaying of Indian Memoirist Sushmita Banerjee
September 13, 2013
Sushmita Banerjee, author of the best seller A Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife, was dragged outside her apartment in Paktika, Afghanistan and shot twenty-five times by gunmen in the early morning hours of September 5. Her memoir chronicling her life in Afghanistan with her Afghani businessman husband Jaanbaz Khan, and her subsequent escape from the country in 1993 after the Taliban take over, was also made into the 2003 film Escape from Taliban. After several attempts to flee, she finally made it back to India in 1995. She was quoted as saying of her return home, “I still remember the day I stepped on Indian soil for the first time after I had left. It was raining outside. People were scurrying for shelter. But I didn't run. I just stood there and let the rain wash off my pain. I felt if I could bear so much in Afghanistan, I can surely bear my motherland's rain. I don't know how long I stood there, but I won't forget that day." The author had recently returned to Afghanistan with her husband to work on a new documentary and book exploring the lives of Afghani women.
Originally, Banerjee’s murder was suspected to be a Taliban execution. According to the Paktika Police Chief, however, the two men in custody are part of the notorious Haqqani militant network. This group, formed in 1973, is known as the most violent of the militant factions in Afghanistan. It was reported that the gunmen asked Sushmita Banerjee why she wrote “nasty things” before executing her. The men in custody, from the village Banerjee lived in, have confessed to being involved in the murder, and also are suspected of attempting to hinder the investigation of the murder by planting mines targeting the team assigned to research the incident.
Sources: usnews.com & International Business Times