Kabul: An Indian woman author who wrote a popular memoir about her escape from the Taliban has been shot dead in Afghanistan’s Paktika province by suspected militants, BBC reported citing police on Thursday.
Married to an Afghan businessman, Sushmita Banerjee, 49, was killed outside her home. The book about her dramatic escape in 1995 became a best-seller in India and was made into a Bollywood film in 2003.
Banerjee had recently moved back to Afghanistan to live with her husband.
Banerjee became well-known in India for her memoir, A Kabuliwala’s Bengali Wife, which recounted her life in Afghanistan with her husband Jaanbaz Khan and her escape.
She was the subject of the 2003 Bollywood film, Escape From Taliban. Starring actress Manisha Koirala, the film described itself as a “story of a woman who dares Taliban.”
A senior police official told the BBC’s Jafar Haand that Banerjee, who was also known as Sayed Kamala, was working as a health worker in the province and had been filming the lives of local women as part of her work.
Police said Taliban militants arrived at her home in the provincial capital, Kharana, tied up her husband and other members of the family, took Banerjee out and shot her. They dumped her body near a religious school, police added.
No group has yet said it carried out the attack.
Banerjee also told her story in an article she wrote for Outlook magazine in 1998. She went to Afghanistan in 1989 after marrying Khan, whom she met in Calcutta.
It was shortly after that, she wrote, that she tried to escape from her husband’s home, three hours from the capital, Kabul.
“One night I made a tunnel through the mud walls of the house and fled. Close to Kabul I was arrested. A 15-member group of the Taliban interrogated me. Many of them said that since I had fled my husband’s home I should be executed. However, I was able to convince them that since I was an Indian I had every right to go back to my country,” Banerjee wrote.
“The interrogation continued through the night. The next morning I was taken to the Indian embassy from where I was given a safe passage. Back in Calcutta I was reunited with my husband. I don’t think he will ever be able to go back to his family.”