A Mumbai-based lensman, Danish Siddiqui, died in the line of duty.
The Reuters photographer was posted in Afghanistan where security forces are engaged in a fierce battle with Taliban. Siddiqui was killed during an ambush on Afghan forces trying to stop the Taliban from taking over the country nearly two decades after they ruled under a strict Islamic code.
Whereas Siddiqui's untimely death has invited international condemnation, trolls owing allegiance to the right-wing Hindu nationalist government in New Delhi were trying to trash him in death on social media. Their outrage is mainly because of his work.
After all, he had documented the protests and an anti-Muslim pogrom following the passage of a controversial Citizenship Amendment Act that discriminates against Muslim refugees coming to India from the neighbouring countries. Apart from that, Siddiqui captured images of ongoing farmers’ protest in India against agriculture laws that threaten their livelihood, as well as the mass funerals caused by death and destruction brought by the second wave of COVID-19.
The latter work attracted global attention, putting the Indian government in a tight spot for its poor handling of the situation. Those celebrating his demise are trying to accuse him of maligning India. And we all know that it has a lot to do with his Muslim background, considering the current Islamophobic environment in that country.
This is despite the fact that the Gita—their sacred scripture that they want to be declared as a national text—teaches them to be devoted to their duty.
Needless to say that Siddiqui was merely doing his job and laid down his life for it. If his right-wing Hindu critics have any shame, they should follow what Gita says and give him his due respect.
Instead of cheering over the loss of an award-winning photojournalist, they need to do some soul searching and make their government accountable for its poor leadership.
If one is so obsessed with Islamic extremism why not just pack up and leave for Afghanistan to fight against Taliban rather than sitting in the comfort zone of India and spewing venom?
If one cannot say something wise on the passing away of someone who uncovered the truth, at least don’t talk rubbish.