Why is it that she was the only target, asks brother

“We had repeatedly warned her not to go back to the strife-torn country but she did not listen to us. She went there to write about present day Afghanistan,” Gopal Banerjee, brother of Sushmita Banerjee, Indian author who was shot dead in Afghanistan, told The Hindu here on Friday.

“The circumstances under which the murder was committed are strange. Why is it that she was the only target when there were others who were in the house who were tied up by the assailants? Moreover, we are yet to be informed by her husband about the death,” he said.

 Mr. Banerjee learned of his sister’s death from the local television channel late on Thursday evening and since then is desperately trying to contact the Ministry of External Affairs to arrange for her body to be brought to the city.

 “All we want is to bring her body to the city,” he said adding that the family has not been able to contact anyone in Afghanistan, not even Ms. Banerjee’s husband.

 The author had married Jannbaaz Khan, an Afghan national, and moved to Kabul to stay with him from 1989 to 1995.

 She returned to Kolkata after finding it difficult to stay on there because of social restrictions imposed by the Taliban and was under pressure to obey their social code, said her brother.

 On her return here, she wrote and had her book ‘Kabuliwalar Bangali Bou’ (A Kabuliwala’s Bengali Wife) — an autobiographical account of her stay in Afghanistan — published in 1997. Since then she began receiving regular threats for writing against the Taliban and the oppressive laws they had imposed in Afghanistan.

 “Even her house in southern parts of the city was attacked once. The State government had provided her security for a few years,” Mr. Banerjee said.

 According to the family members, she left for Afghanistan again in January 2013 once assured that the situation there had improved following the U.S. intervention.

 “She was back in June and stayed with us for four days,” Mr. Banerjee said.

“She bought lot of medicines to take back, explaining that she was working as a paramedic at a government facility there. She was involved in public service there. Moreover, when she spoke to me or my wife over the phone she did not give any indication that she could be targeted,” he said.

She was a bold woman and lived her entire life amidst threats, he pointed out.