At UNSC meet, Harsh Shringla condemns killing of journalist Danish Siddiqui
NEW DELHI: India on Friday condemned the killing of photo-journalist Danish Siddiqui in an attack by the Taliban in Afghanistan during a meeting of the UN Security Council on protecting civilians in armed conflicts.
Danish Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize winner, was killed in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar on Thursday while on a reporting assignment embedded with Afghan security forces. He was covering clashes between Afghan forces and Taliban fighters near a border crossing with Pakistan in Spin Boldak.
While address the UN Security Council meeting in New York with the theme “Protection of civilians in armed conflict – preserving humanitarian space”, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla recalled the long history of differentiating between combatants and civilians in India and other countries around the world.
“In this regard we condemn the killing of an Indian photo-journalist, 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.
Harsh Shringla said the world is currently grappling with a range of humanitarian crises, most of them caused by armed conflicts. These crises have severely impacted millions of civilians and the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation, he said.
While international humanitarian law has its genesis in the recent past, civilisations have developed rules of warfare to protect non-combatants and civilians and India has followed the path of Dharma or righteous conduct and provided refuge to persecuted people over the centuries, he said.
“Dharma-based norms” for armed conflict in ancient India were based on humanitarian norms and there were many rules protecting civilians during conflict,” Shringla said.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani too condoled Siddiqui’s death in a message posted on Facebook. “I am deeply saddened with the shocking reports that Reuters photo-journalist Danish Siddiqui was killed while covering the Taliban atrocities in Kandahar,” he said.
“While I extend my heartfelt condolences to Mr Siddiqui’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 added.
Siddiqui was part of a Reuters team that won a Pulitzer for its coverage of the Rohingya refugee crisis. He also won praise for his images of communal violence in northeast Delhi in 2020 and the devastating second wave of Covid-19 infections earlier this year.