Pulitzer Prize-winner Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui has been killed in Afghanistan; Danish was 41-year-old, and working as a chief photographer for Reuters news agency in India. He was on assignment was caught in clashes among Afghan forces and the Taliban.
According to media reports, he went with Afghan forces hit by Taliban militants near Afghanistan’s border post with Pakistan.
Afghanistan’s ambassador to India, Farid Mamundzay, said that he was deeply disturbed by the news of the killing of a Danish Siddiqui.
Danish Siddiqui was based out of Mumbai and worked for Reuters for more than ten years. He won the Pulitzer Prize in feature photography.
He shared it with his colleagues Adnan Abidi and five others to shoot the violence faced by Myanmar’s minority Rohingya community.
In his earlier interview with Reuters, Siddiqui said that while he enjoys covering news stories from business to politics to sports, he wants most to capture the human face of a breaking story.
Siddiqui went to Afghanistan to cover a recent clash among Taliban terrorists and Afghan forces in the Kandahar region.
The conflict has majorly arisen after the US has withdrawn its troops from Afghanistan as per the target date of 11 September set by Joe Biden.
The Taliban is a radical Islamic terrorist organization has been operating their terror network in Afghanistan since the mid-90s.
The group became less active after the 9/11 attack and the entry of the USA military in Afghanistan.
Coverage by Danish
Danish was known for his Afghanistan and Iraq war coverage, the Rohingya refugee’s crisis, the Hong Kong protests, and Nepal earthquakes.
His major critically acclaimed work gave him Pulitzer Prize for their documenting on the Rohingya refugee crisis.
Siddiqui’s also came into the limelight when his photos on mass cremations of Covid-19 funeral grounds went viral.
He was widely criticized for his work by right-wing extremists, and he was accused of targeting the Modi government and Hindu’s.
In April 2020, Siddiqui covered tens of thousands of migrant workers from India’s various cities after the 21 days lockdown.
Racist Campaign against over Danish’s death
Some of the users on Twitter shared an unverified image of his dead body. Some extremists celebrated his death, accusing him of an anti-national for his coverage during the second wave of the Pandemic.
The Editors Guild added that Siddiqui’s death was a stern reminder of the kind of risks journalists take to report from the frontlines of any conflict.
His work was, therefore, a living testament to the hypothesis of photojournalism, ‘if your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” Added the Editors Guild.
Several journalists and other Twitter users urged people not to share the image to maintain the dignity of the dead.
They also explained the perspective behind Siddiqui’s photos and the humane approach he took while covering a tragedy.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said authorities in Afghanistan should conduct a swift and thorough inquiry into the killing of Siddiqui.
The committee described the death as tragic. The United States and its allies withdraw forces; journalists will continue to work in Afghanistan and document whatever comes next at significant risk to their lives.
The committee added that combatants need to take responsibility for safeguarding journalists, as dozens of journalists have been killed in this conflict, with little or no accountability.
It also expressed shock about the journalist’s death and said it was at a “loss of words”. “True journalism needs courage and Danish’s body of work is a testament to that,” the Press Club of India said.
The Foreign Correspondents Club of South Asia said that Siddiqui was a “fiercely talented photojournalist”.
“The singular image that defined the biggest news of the day, resonant for its humanity and artistry, was taken by Danish.” the association of foreign correspondents said.
They added that Danish would be remembered for his intelligence, compassion and bravery, and his body of work will live on forever.”
Meanwhile, at an event on Friday of the United Nations Security Council, India condemned the killing of Siddiqui in Afghanistan.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla raised concerns about the violence against civilians during armed conflict.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that India’s ambassador in Kabul was in touch with Afghan authorities on the matter.
However, the Taliban has expressed regret over Siddiqui’s death but denied any role in it.