In yet another example of how much the Taliban hate women and everything to do with them, Indian author Sushmita Banerjee was found dead in Kabul on Thursday, killed in the most savage and inhumane of ways. Abducted from her home and taken to a madrassa, she was shot 25 times and had some of the hair ripped off her scalp. Originally a Hindu Indian, Sushmita converted to Islam after meeting her future Afghan Muslim husband. She then shifted to Afghanistan and wrote a book about her experiences in her new country, especially her ordeals whenever faced with the frightening Afghan Taliban. She was sentenced to death some 18 years ago by the Afghan Taliban for refusing to wear a burqa in public, an incident that was included in her book. Her memoir became so famous that it was made into a Bollywood movie as well in 2003. The Taliban are denying any involvement but that is hard to believe.
How can it be possible that the very force that gave Sushmita a whipping because she did not heed the Taliban’s commands and made attempts on her life twice is not behind her murder? She was subjected to so many threats that she fled to India twice during Taliban rule. Their denial is not surprising — whenever they commit a particularly atrocious crime that outrages the world, they deny involvement. Pashtun culture, although extremely patriarchal, does not desecrate its women like this and maybe that is why, when the Taliban show their true savagery, they deny any involvement. If their role in Sushmita Banerjee’s death is even slightly debatable, what about the fact that the Pakistani Taliban detonated a bomb outside a girls school in Bannu on Thursday, injuring 11 young students? This is not the kind of force that will ever allow women to live in peace. It will never stand for freedom and any rights for women. No matter how hard they try though there are others who beat them at their nefarious games; Malala Yousafzai has won the Children’s Peace Prize in The Hague, a prestigious award for all her efforts at promoting female education. It is such hope and such women, Sushmita Banerjee included, who have raised their voices and have made their ordeals known. They may be shot or killed but their brave voices will never be silenced.