Danish Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian photojournalist, who headed the multimedia team of news agency Reuters in India, was killed while reporting in Afghanistan’s Kandahar on Thursday night. Danish had traveled to Afghanistan and was riding along the Afghan Special Forces to report on their operations against the Taliban in the region.
Three days ago, the photojournalist in a series of tweets had described his near-death experience of covering the violent conflict unfolding between the government security forces and the Taliban in the Kandahar region following the withdrawal of the US troops from the area.
Afghan Special Forces, the elite fighters are on various frontlines across the country. I tagged along with these young men for some missions. Here is what happened in Kandahar today while they were on a rescue mission after spending the whole night on a combat mission. pic.twitter.com/HMTbOOtDqN
— Danish Siddiqui (@dansiddiqui) July 13, 2021
Farid Mamundzay Afghanistan’s ambassador to India also tweeted about the tragic event.
Deeply disturbed by the sad news of the killing of a friend, Danish Seddiqi in Kandahar last night. The Indian Journalist & winner of Pulitzer Prize was embedded with Afghan security forces. I met him 2 weeks ago before his departure to Kabul. Condolences to his family & Reuters. pic.twitter.com/sGlsKHHein
— Farid Mamundzay फरीद मामुन्दजई فرید ماموندزی (@FMamundzay) July 16, 2021
In 2018, Siddiqui had won the Pulitzer Prize for his work on the Rohingya refugee crisis along with others on his team. In his recent works, he extensively covered the country-wide anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests and the following violence on the Muslim communities in North East Delhi. His pictures of the devastating effect of the lockdown on the tens of thousands of migrant workers walking miles to reach home and his photos which covered the deadly second wave of coronavirus in India had been used widely used across media publications.
At a time when the Indian government was consistently fudging the COVID19 death numbers, Danish’s drone images of funeral pyres and saffron cloth clad dead bodies along the side of the Ganges brought the truth to the global spotlight.
When Danish was praised for his documentation of the brutal second wave of COVID19 by a reporter with ABC News, he had responded with, ‘It’s our DUTY to document what is happening around us.’
Thanks for your kind words. I don't think there is anything HEROIC about it. As journalists, this is what we signed up for. It's our DUTY to document what is happening around us. https://t.co/zuNkyK8Mt4
— Danish Siddiqui (@dansiddiqui) April 26, 2021
People all over the world have expressed grief on the death of the photojournalist and hailed his work as something that ‘really captured recent times’.
My heart is sinking, what a devastating news. RIP https://t.co/QzcdTndCkI
— Masrat Zahra (@Masratzahra) July 16, 2021
Rahul Bhatia, a former journalist with Reuters, tweeted that ‘Reuters teaches you how to take care of yourself. They teach you how to assess risk, how to make that calculation of when to stay and when to run. Danish and other journalists show the limits of this training because they’re skating so close to the edge of the truth of a situation. That’s how he got those pictures of mass pyres, of the lunatic with the gun during the protests, of a man beaten senselessly. “This is happening,” his pictures said. “Look.”‘
Danish was a lovely man. When he returned from assignments to the bureau, reporters greeted him like a rock star, which he really was. He was just different. News wasn't just news for him. He saw the people behind it, and wanted to make you feel. …
— Rahul Bhatia (@rahulabhatia) July 16, 2021
Be it the farmers protest, the Delhi carnage, the devastating Covid wave in India, the torture of Rohingya’s, searing images from Mosul to Kandahar, the world saw the inhumanity through his lens. We are numb Danish. You did not even say the final Goodbye https://t.co/nepwRZq4GU
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) July 16, 2021
Danish was known for his photographs which captured the atrocities and the hardships that those who occupy the margins of society are made to undergo.
Danish Siddiqui clicked the migrant labourer crisis when the government has left them out to die during the lockdown while the privileged were banging plates in their balcony.
He showed what people has faced and will always be remembered for his work.
— Harsh (@_ambedkarite) July 16, 2021
Danish Siddiqui was the man behind some of the most heart wrenching photos we saw in the last few years in India. Unafraid to show the dismal reality. Unparalleled courage to go into an active warzone in Afghanistan.
The news is utterly heartbreaking.
Rest in power, Danish. pic.twitter.com/TPAqeCQR93
— Mando (@MandoMunda) July 16, 2021