Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Friday said he was deeply saddened by the killing of Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui in Kandahar.
“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 Mr. Sidiqqui’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 was quoted as saying in an official statement.
Siddiqui, in his early 40s, was killed while covering a clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters in Spin Boldak district in Kandahar for Reuters news agency. He had been embedded as a journalist since earlier this week with Afghan special forces based in the southern province of Kandahar and had been reporting on fighting between Afghan commandos and Taliban fighters.
The agency said Siddiqui and a senior Afghan officer were killed in what they described as Taliban crossfire. “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.
Siddiqui had received the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography as part of the Reuters Photography staff for documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis.
The journalist’s death was consoled by politicians and diplomats on Twitter.
Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay in a tweet said, “Deeply disturbed by the sad news of the killing of a friend, Danish Siddiqui in Kandahar last night (Thursday). The Indian Journalist and winner of the Pulitzer Prize was embedded with Afghan security forces.”
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
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla speaking at the Security Council briefing on ‘Protection of Civilians in armed conflict: Preserving humanitarian space’ said India strongly condemns the killing of Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist.
He said in a Dharma-yuddha or righteous war, civilians were not attacked, but had to be protected. “The Dharma-based norms for armed conflict in ancient India were founded on the principle of humanity and humanitarian norms and had many rules protecting civilians during conflict. High importance was attached to distinguishing combatants and non-combatants during armed conflicts,” he said.
“We condemn the killing of Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui while he was on a reporting assignment in Kandahar in Afghanistan yesterday. I extend our sincerest condolences to his bereaved family,” Shringla said.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur “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. Sharing one of his pictures below. Sincere condolences. RIP,” Thakur tweeted.
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. Sharing one of his pictures below. Sincere condolences. RIP https://t.co/xGhjJbsoCQ pic.twitter.com/9V7czR5DtB— Anurag Thakur (@ianuragthakur) July 16, 2021
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed his grief and urged the Centre to facilitate bringing his mortal remains back home at the earliest. “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,” Gandhi said on Twitter.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin consoled Siddique’s death 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. #DanishSiddiqui.”
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. #DanishSiddiqui pic.twitter.com/Q5GtqQGX7L
— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) July 16, 2021
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also consoled Siddique’s death saying his 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.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also expressed grief and said, “The demise of Danish Siddiqui is a tragic loss. He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist whose photographs were emblematic of the upheavals that our country witnessed in the past few years. My thoughts & prayers are with his family, loved ones and colleagues.”
The demise of Danish Siddiqui is a tragic loss.He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist whose photographs were emblematic of the upheavals that our country witnessed in the past few years.
My thoughts & prayers are with his family, loved ones and colleagues.
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) July 16, 2021
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury expressed his condolence on Twitter and said, “His death is shocking and untimely. One of the most promising photo journalists, Danish Siddique leaves behind an extraordinary record of the times. Condolences to his family and friends.”
National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah said it is a tragedy to see a capable youngster lose his life in a fateful incident. “It is heartbreaking to know that award winning Reuters photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was killed while covering fighting in Kandahar. It is a tragedy to see such a capable and industrious youngster lose his life in a fateful incident. My condolences to his family, to his colleagues at Reuters and may Almighty accord the departed highest place in jannat,” Abdullah said.
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.
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