parry ernsberger
September 09, 2013 9:00 am

A woman who risked her life to reveal the terrors of living under the Taliban was killed early Thursday morning by a group of masked attackers. Sushmita Banerjee, a former Hindu-practicing Indian, found love with an Afghan Muslim man, much to the dismay of her parents. She moved with him to Afghanistan and converted to Islam so they could wed, and the couple lived with her husband’s family in a Taliban-run province. After once refusing to wear a burqa in public, Banergee was whipped, persecuted and sentenced to death by militant leaders — a fate that she managed to escape after at least two failed attempts. She fled back to India, where her husband would later join her, and published a memoir about her struggles in Afghanistan in 1998.

In 2003, her story was turned into a Bollywood movie, but according to Banergee, the film unfairly depicted her husband and his family. The couple ventured back and forth between India and Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, but one prominent local claims that, 18 years after she was sentenced to death,

Recently, Banergee had been spending a lot of time in Afghanistan and early Thursday morning, she was abducted and shot 25 times. When asked about the incident, a Taliban spokesman said,

While we may never know who was responsible for Banergee’s untimely death, her honesty and bravery in the face of gender-based atrocities is certainly something to be remembered and admired.

 Featured image via The New York Times

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