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Human Interest

Danish Siddiqui: The photographs you’ve seen but the photographer you might not know

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Danish Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize-winner and one of the most accomplished photojournalists in India of our time who was working with Reuters passed away on 16th July 2021, while covering the conflict between Afghanistan Security Forces and Taliban fighters near a border crossing with Pakistan

A wounded arm due to shrapnel did not keep Danish from working. He had informed Reuters of the injury, was treated and had been recovering when Taliban fighters had retreated from Spin Boldak. 

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Siddiqui had tagged along with Afghan special forces in Kandahar to cover the conflict in the region earlier this week. His last report, which was from Kandahar, was published three days ago. The report informed on how the Afghan security personnel, he was with had come under the Taliban fighter’s attack. 

Danish had been talking to shopkeepers when the Taliban attacked again, an Afghan commander told Reuters. Killed in a crossfire by the Taliban, Danish Siddiqui’s passing away is being revered on the internet, as a “Huge loss to journalism”, Manisha Pande, a journalist tweeted,

Danish Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize-winner and one of the most accomplished photojournalists in India of our time who was working with Reuters passed away on 16th July 2021, while covering the conflict between Afghanistan Security Forces and Taliban fighters near a border crossing with Pakistan.

A wounded arm due to shrapnel did not keep Danish from working. He had informed Reuters of the injury, was treated and had been recovering when Taliban fighters had retreated from Spin Boldak.

Siddiqui had tagged along with Afghan special forces in Kandahar to cover the conflict in the region earlier this week. His last report, which was from Kandahar, was published three days ago. The report informed on how the Afghan security personnel, he was with had come under the Taliban fighter’s attack.

Danish had been talking to shopkeepers when the Taliban attacked again, an Afghan commander told Reuters. Killed in a crossfire by the Taliban, Danish Siddiqui’s passing away is being revered on the internet, as a “Huge loss to journalism”. Manisha Pande, a journalist tweeted.

“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,” said Reuters President Michael Friedenberg.

Afghanistan’s Tolo News channel cited sources as saying that Siddiqui was killed in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar. It added that Sediq Karzai, an Afghan special forces commander in Kandahar, was killed in the same incident.

Hailing from Mumbai, Danish graduated with a degree in Economics from Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. He did a degree in Mass Communication from the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre at Jamia in 2007.

He began his career as a television news correspondent and later joined Reuters as an intern in 2010. Later, the photojournalist went on to lead the Reuters’ multimedia team in India.

He was part of a team of journalists that captured images of the Rohingya refugees at their most vulnerable back in 2017.

“You can see the helplessness and the exhaustion of the woman, paired with the action that is happening in the background with the smoke. This was the frame I wanted to show the world,” Danish had said while talking about the Rohingya refugees.

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

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

His capturing of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests and drone images of burning funeral pyres of COVID-19 victims in Delhi had drawn global attention. “A photo should draw people and tell them the whole story without being loud,” Siddiqui had told an Indian publication.

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

Upon the news of Danish Siddiqui’s death, Farid Mamundzay, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India, tweeted, “Deeply disturbed by the sad news of the killing of a friend, Danish Seddiqi in Kandahar last night. The Indian Journalist & winner of the Pulitzer Prize was embedded with Afghan security forces. I met him 2 weeks ago, before his departure to Kabul. Condolences to his family & Reuters.”

Former Indian National Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi, in a tweet, requested the Government of India to facilitate bringing Siddiqui’s remains back home. 

Written By

Saad Ansari

Saad Ansari is a Mass Media and Journalism student with a deep interest in analysing domestic and global newsworthy incidents. Inquisitive extroverted and a writer at heart, he loves understanding things and then forming a perspective to intrigue over. Currently, he is pursuing BA in Multimedia and Mass Communication at Bunts Sangha's SM Shetty College, Powai. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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