For him, journalism was a social responsibility
On the morning of July 16, the global community of journalists woke up to the shocking news of the assassination of Reuters photographer, Danish Sidiqqui.
The 38-year-old journalist was killed in clashes between Taliban militants and Afghan security forces. Siddiqui was on a mission in the war-torn country as NATO and US forces left the country after decades of conflict. He was integrated into the government forces. Reuters’ chief of photography in India had posted photos of himself and Afghan forces as he did his job days before his death.
The loss of Siddiqui has been mourned by everyone from journalists and politicians to those in the highest seats of power. Among those who paid tribute to the murdered journalist was United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
“The secretary general mourns the journalists killed or harassed all over the world and the case of the Danish Siddiqui is an example,” Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the secretary general, said at the daily press conference on Friday.
“This is of course also an example of the particular problems we are facing in Afghanistan at the moment and as I just pointed out from the mission side, it is something that concerns us as well, it is the growing threat to journalists in Afghanistan. ,” he added.
The United States said it was “deeply saddened” by the death of the Indian photojournalist, calling for an end to the violence in Afghanistan. US State Department spokesman Ned Price took to Twitter and argued that a political settlement was the only way forward to end the current political crisis in Afghanistan. “Deeply saddened by the death today of Danish photojournalist Siddiqui, Pulitzer Prize winner. We call for an end to the violence in Afghanistan, which has claimed far too many lives, including the lives of many journalists. A political settlement is needed. the only way forward, ”he wrote on Twitter.
Siddiqui also received high praise from his compatriots, with opposition leader Rahul Gandhi sending his condolences to the grieving family. However, among those who ignored the death of India’s first Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist were Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet ministers. In the past, Modi and his party men have extended their grief to the families of journalists who died during the covid.
If that wasn’t enough, the reporter credited with exposing the covid situation in India to the world was abused even after his death by right-wing trolls, many calling him Karma.
In 2018, Siddiqui won the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Film Photography. He won it alongside his colleague Adnan Abidi and five others for their work documenting the violence facing Myanmar’s Rohingya minority community.
Recently, his photos of a mass funeral held at the height of India’s devastating Second Wave went viral and won him praise and worldwide recognition.
“While I love to cover the news – from business to politics to sports – what I love most is capturing the human face of a landmark story,” Siddiqui told Reuters.
However, right-wing trolls accused him of making money from the images and on social media he received unprecedented hatred for his Muslim identity.
In 2020 his photo of a Muslim man beaten by a mob as they gathered him became the face of the riots in Delhi, this photograph had also angered Hindu extremists as Sidiqui became the target of abuse and vitriol.
Sidiqui was not only a brilliant journalist but an incredible human being. In 2019, when New Delhi repealed Section 370, it was among many Indian journalists to travel to Kashmir and document the siege that lasted for weeks.
Not only local journalists but ordinary people also remember him for his honesty and genius: “I was shocked to read his passing, I remember he came to Soura in 2019 and covered the protests. nocturnes de notre region ”, an inhabitant of the Anchar region in Soura mentioned. By 2019, Anchar, a suburb of Srinagar, had transformed into a single center of resistance against the state. Many journalists went there to cover the demonstrations, the brilliant Sidiqui managed to get some superb pictures.
“After the internet was restored in Kashmir, I was happy that he did justice to our cause and showed the real reality on the ground,” added the local.
Sidiqui came from a humble background and belonged to the Okhla ghetto in New Delhi. No wonder his death sent shockwaves to his friends and those who knew him.
In a touching note, Bilal Zaidi, senior journalist from New Delhi, who also happens to be his childhood companion, wrote:
“Danish’s death was shocking and brings back so many memories. We went to different schools but sometimes we took the same blue line bus. It used to be packed and we usually hung on the door, ”Zaidi wrote.
“Our paths crossed again when we both landed on Vir Sanghvi’s ambitious project called NewsX. They had hired a group of 40 people in their 20s to compete with NDTV and CNN IBN etc. I remember he was coming back from a tour of Gujarat and showing his stills to everyone in the newsroom, ”he wrote.
For Danish, Zaidi added, journalism has always been a social responsibility and not just a career option. “There is no doubt that in Denmark the world of Siddiqui has not only lost a great journalist, but also a human being. He loved his job so much that it was normal for him to die doing it.