Danish Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist with Reuters, was killed while covering the clash between Afghan forces and the Taliban in Kandahar late on July 15.

A black and white picture of Pultizer Prize-winning photojournalist Danish SiddiquiMumbairt | Wikimedia Commons
news Death Friday, July 16, 2021 - 18:42

Many are still in shock as India lost one of its finest, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalists on July 15. Photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, who was heading Reuter’s multimedia team in India, was killed in the line of duty during clashes between the Afghan security forces and the Taliban in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Many journalists who worked with him in the past remembered him as a dedicated and brave journalist. Several others recounted him as the photojournalist who took some of the most iconic images that captured the political and humanitarian crises in India and other nations in the past decade.

From international and national leaders to journalists and common people, many took to social media to pay tribute to Danish Siddiqui, who was in his 40s. They paid tribute by sharing some of his exemplary pictures. His recent images of mass graves in Delhi due to the second wave of the COVID-19 brought international attention to the pandemic situation in India. His images of the migrant crisis in the first wave of the pandemic, as well as the anti-CAA protests and ensuing pogrom against Muslims in Delhi, were also widely shared.

Condoling the photojournalist’s death, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said that Danish leaves behind an extraordinary body of work. "He won the Pulitzer Prize for photography and was embedded with the Afghan forces in Kandahar. Sharing one of his pictures below. Sincere condolences. RIP," Thakur tweeted. Afghanistan’s Tolo News, quoting sources, said that fierce fighting has been underway in Kandahar, especially in Spin Boldak, for the last few days. Danish was covering the situation in Kandahar when he was killed.

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani took to Twitter to condole the photojournalist’s death. “I am deeply saddened with the shocking reports that Reuters Photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was killed while covering the Taliban atrocities in Kandahar. While I extend my heartfelt condolences to Siddiqui’s family and also to our media family,” the Afghan President tweeted.

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

Danish graduated with a degree in Economics from Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. He had a degree in Mass Communication from the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre at Jamia in 2007. He started his career as a television news correspondent, switched to photojournalism, and joined Reuters as an intern in 2010.

The alums group of the AJK Mass Communications Research Centre at Jamia Millia Islamia issued a statement, in which they fondly remember Danish and how supportive he was towards fellow journalists. “We are deeply shocked and saddened by Danish Siddiqui's death. As fellow journalists, we admired his work and celebrated his success. As alumni of AJK MCRC and Jamia Millia Islamia, we are proud of his achievement. He will be remembered not just as an international award-winning photojournalist, but also as a human being full of humility and kindness. Many of us have received his guidance and support — both at the university, where he returned frequently for interactions and on the field. Danish's death is a reminder for all media organisations to prioritise journalists' safety. We request the Indian government to support his family in this time of grave loss and help bring his remains back to the country,” it read.

Many journalists, too, recounted Danish’s contribution to journalism while remembering him.

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' Pulitzer Prizes winning photojournalist Danish Siddiqui 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.

The Mumbai Press Club condoled his death, saying, “We are deeply saddened by the news of the tragic death of award-winning photojournalist Danish Siddiqui in the line of duty. The bravest journalist, Danish, leaves behind an extraordinary body of work. Prayers and fond memories are what we have to remember our dearly departed.”

The Congress party also wrote about Siddiqui’s death. Sharing four of his popular images, the party tweeted from its official account, “For shining a light on the truth amidst the darkness, for standing up to the powerful & mighty, for serving humanity with utmost courage, we salute Pulitzer-winning Reuters photojournalist, Danish Siddiqui. Our condolences to his family. May he rest in power.”

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin also condoled Siddiqui’s death, saying, “I am deeply saddened by the untimely death of Danish Siddiqui, 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.”

Danish was embedded in the security forces in Afghanistan when he was killed on duty. Afghanistan witnessed a series of terror attacks in the last few weeks as the US withdrew the majority of its troops from the country and aimed to complete the drawdown by August 31, ending nearly two-decade of its military presence in the country.

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