Sushmita Banerjee's kin, Taslima sniff conspiracy behind killing

Kolkata, Sep 6 : Sushmita Banerjee's kin here Friday hinted at a probable conspiracy behind the author's killing in Afghanistan, asking whether the killers tied her in-laws to "actually protect them". Exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasrin also cast doubts about the family's role.

"Why she (Sushmita) alone was killed while the rest of the family was left untouched? Did the killers tie the rest of the family members to actually protect them? Why did her husband not try to contact us after the tragedy?" Banerjee's sister-in-law Debolina Banerjee said to IANS here.

City residents Debolina and her husband Gopal - Sushmita's younger brother - got the news of the author's killing from local TV news channels.

Debolina said repeated attempts to contact Sushmita's husband, Afghan businessman Jaanbaz Khan, or his family in Kabul have yielded no results.

"We got the news from TV channels. Why didn't they try to contact us? Even after repeated attempts, we have failed to contact them. There are many unanswered questions," said Gopal.

Gopal, who last talked to Khan by phone July 25, said his sister always claimed she had amicable relationship both with her husband and in-laws.

"She always said she had good and amicable relations with her in-laws, but then we fail to understand the present situation, the way they have reacted," added Debolina.

Even Taslima talked about a conspiracy.

"Do the Taliban need to tie up others when they kill one? Maybe they need. Or maybe they don't. Maybe someone from her in-laws informed the Taliban that Sushmita, the 'immoral woman', who fled husband's house and wrote bad about them was there, maybe those men knew about her deeds and whereabouts from other sources," Taslima said.

"I do not know about the conspiracy behind killing Sushmita, but I know why she was killed. She was killed because of patriarchy and religion," Taslima said on her official blog.

While Taliban militants are suspected to have killed Banerjee, Taslima was forced to leave her country Bangladesh following widespread agitation against her writings on women's rights and freedom, which a section of people saw as an assault on Islam.

Banerjee, who defied her family to marry 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 author, who recently moved back to Afghanistan to live with her husband, was dragged out of her home and shot dead by suspected Taliban gunmen in Sharan city of Afghanistan's Paktika province Wednesday night.

--IANS (Posted on 06-09-2013)

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