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Mamata steps in to bring slain Sushmita's body

Kolkata, Sept 7, 2013, DHNS: 0:52 IST
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has taken personal initiative to bring back the body of Sushmita Bandopadhyay, the Bengali author who was killed on Thursday by unidentified gunmen in Afghanistan.

Senior state officials have already got in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The author’s brother, Gopal, met Mukul Roy on Saturday after getting to know that the state government is trying to get her mortal remains back.

Roy told reporters that he has also arranged a meeting between Gopal and the chief minister’s secretary so that they can work out the process.

Gopal told a section of the media on Friday that he had contacted the MEA urging it to make arrangements for getting Sushmita’s body back home. Sushmita shot to fame with Kabuliwallar Bangali Bou (Kabuliwalla’s Bengali Wife), a chronicle of her dramatic escape from Taliban in 1995.

It was later made into a Hindi film “Escape from Taliban” with Manisha Koirala in the lead. The author, who ran into a storm over allegations of her account being false, could not keep away from controversy even in her death.

With the BBC and other foreign news agencies quoting the Taliban as denying any involvement in her death, security experts are questioning Sushmita’s presence in Afghanistan.

According to a senior MEA official, when she escaped the war-torn country in 1995, she did so with the help of the Indian embassy in Kabul and it was much-talked about.

“This time when she went back after so many years, she did not get in touch. No one knew when she went back or why. Members of her family and friends said she went back to write more against the Taliban but there she started working as a health worker,” the official said.

She reportedly ran a women’s clinic at Paktika, one of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan.

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