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Friday, July 30, 2021

Danish Siddiqui, Reuters chief photographer, killed in Afghanistan

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Danish Siddiqui had been covering the situation in Kandahar, Afghanistan over the last few days.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 16, 2021 8:18:58 pm
Danish Siddiqui, Danish Siddiqui dead, Danish Siddiqui killed Afghanistan, Danish Siddiqui, Reuters photojournalistReuters Chief Photographer Danish Siddiqui. (Twitter/@DanSiddiqui)

Danish Siddiqui, an award-winning photojournalist, was killed on Friday while covering a clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters near a border crossing with Pakistan. The Pulitzer Prize-winning chief photographer had been covering the Afghan-Taliban clashes for Reuters over the last few days.

Afghan special forces were fighting to retake the main market area of Spin Boldak in the Kandahar district of Afghanistan when Siddiqui and a senior Afghan officer were killed in what Afghan officials described as Taliban crossfire.

Earlier this week, Siddiqui had been embedded with Afghan special forces in Kandahar to cover the conflict in the region.

Danish Siddiqui, Danish Siddiqui dead, Danish Siddiqui news, Danish Siddiqui Taliban, Danish Siddiqui photos, Danish Siddiqui pictures, Danish Siddiqui killed Afghanistan, Danish Siddiqui, danish siddiqui photographer, Reuters photojournalist killed Afghanistan, Afghanistan news, Indian Express news A convoy of Afghan Special Forces is seen during the rescue mission of a policeman besieged at a check post surrounded by Taliban, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, July 13, 2021. (Reuters/Danish Siddiqui)

On Friday, Siddiqui had told Reuters that he had been wounded in the arm by shrapnel while reporting on the clash. He was treated and had been recovering when Taliban fighters retreated from the fighting in Spin Boldak.

“We are urgently seeking more information, working with authorities in the region,” Reuters President Michael Friedenberg and Editor-in-Chief Alessandra Galloni said in a statement. “Danish was an outstanding journalist, a devoted husband and father, and a much-loved colleague. Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.”

Reuters, however, was unable to independently verify the details of the renewed fighting described by the Afghan military official, who asked not to be identified before Afghanistan’s Defence Ministry made a statement.

In New Delhi, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, while responding to media queries, said that “Our Ambassador in Kabul is in touch with Afghan authorities. We are keeping his family informed of the developments.”

Meanwhile, Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said he is deeply saddened with the news of Siddiqui’s killing. “I am deeply saddened with the shocking reports that Reuters Photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was killed while covering the Taliban atrocities in Kandahar,” Ghani said in a tweet.

“While I extend my heartfelt condolences to Mr Siddiqui’s family and also to our media family. I reiterate my government’s unwavering commitment to freedom of speech and protection of free media and journalists,” he added.

Based in Mumbai, Siddiqui graduated with a degree in Economics from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He also had a degree in Mass Communication from the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre at the same institute.

He began his career as a television news correspondent and later joined Reuters as an intern in 2010.

Photographers pay tribute to Danish Siddiqui, who was killed in Afghanistan, while covering a clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters, in Kolkata.

In 2018, Danish Siddiqui and his colleague Adnan Abidi became the first Indians to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis.

Siddiqui had covered the 2020 Delhi riots, the Covid-19 pandemic, the Nepal earthquake in 2015, the Battle of Mosul in 2016-17, and the 2019–2020 protests in Hong Kong.

Siddiqui’s work has been widely published across global publications including New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and National Geographic Magazine.

Condolences pour in

Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay said: “Deeply saddened by the sad news of the murder of a friend Danish Siddiqui in Kandahar last night. Indian journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner was with Afghan security forces when they were attacked by terrorists.”

Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur also expressed his condolences on the passing of Siddiqui. “Danish Siddiqui leaves behind an extraordinary body of work. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Photography and was embedded with the Afghan Forces in Kandahar… Sincere condolences. RIP,” he tweeted.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi appealed to the Indian govt to bring Siddiqui’s mortal remains back. In a tweet, Gandhi said, “My condolences to the family and friends of Danish Siddiqui. My condolences to the family and friends of Danish Siddiqui. I appeal to GOI to facilitate bringing his mortal remains back home at the earliest.”

The Press Club of India also expressed shock at the death of the journalist. “The Press Club of India is shocked at the passing of @Reuters’ @PulitzerPrizes winning photojournalist @dansiddiqui at Kandahar where he fell to the bullets of the Taliban. True journalism needs courage and Danish’s body of work is a testament to that. We are at a loss of words,” it tweeted.

Reuters photographer Danish Siddiqui takes pictures from a fishing boat of the damaged cargo ship MSC Chitra in the Arabian Sea off the Mumbai coast, August 9, 2010. (Reuters)

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin also said he was deeply saddened by the killing of Siddiqui in Afghanistan and praised his stellar work.

In a tweet, Stalin said, “I am deeply saddened by the untimely death of @dansiddiqui who, through his camera lens, had brought to us the devastation of pandemics, pogroms and humanitarian crises. His death gives a message to the world once again to shun violence and terrorism in any form”

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said Siddiqui’s demise is a “big loss to journalism”.

“Shocked and deeply saddened by the news of @dansiddiqui’s demise. A brave & heroic Photo Journalist who died on line of duty while covering clashes in Spin Boldak district in Kandahar, Afghanistan. A big loss to journalism,” Sisodia tweeted.

-Inputs from PTI, Reuters

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