Indian Embassy in Kabul not aware of Sushmita`s return to Afghanistan: Khurshid

Salman Khurshid said the Indian Embassy in Kabul was not aware of Sushmita Banerjee last visit to Afghanistan as she had not registered with them.

PTI| Updated: Oct 22, 2013, 23:37 PM IST

New Delhi: Expressing anguish over the murder of author-activist Sushmita Banerjee in Afghanistan, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said the Indian Embassy in Kabul was not aware of her last visit to that country as she had not registered with them.

The Embassy was closely pursuing the Afghan police`s investigation into the murder. Afghan police arrested six persons, Khurshid said in a letter to Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh.

Banerjee, who was married to an Afghan national, was murdered on September five in that country. She was known for her fight on issues of women`s emancipation and gender justice in Afghanistan.

"Banerjee had returned to Afghanistan eight months back to live with her husband. She was running a health clinic at the village of her husband in Paktika province.

"The Embassy of India in Kabul was not aware of her return to Afghanistan as she had not registered with them as Indian nationals are normally expected to do," the Minister said in the letter to Ghosh who had raised the issue in Rajya Sabha in the last session.

Khurshid said that soon after the incident, the Embassy had established contact with the local Afghan authorities and ascertained the details.

"Ambassador Amar Sinha spoke on telephone to the husband of Sushmita. The Embassy was in touch with her brother in West Bengal," he said.

Investigation into the murder was continuing and the Indian Embassy was pursuing the case with Afghan authorities, Khurshid said.

Banerjee`s book "Kabuliwalar Bangali Bou" (A Kabuliwala`s Bengali Wife), about her escape from the Taliban in 1995, became a bestseller in India and was made into the Bollywood film "Escape From Taliban" in 2003.

A renegade Taliban militia, the suicide group of the Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, had taken responsibility for killing Banerjee, claiming she was an "Indian spy".