A tribute in New Delhi to Danish Siddiqui.

Amid the rich tributes to Danish Siddiqui from across the world and candlelight vigils in Indian cities on Saturday, one sentence in the condolence message from the Editors Guild of India stood out.

“…The Guild is deeply disturbed by the vicious and highly regrettable racist campaign being run against him by some sections of social media,” the statement said, referring to a hate campaign that broke out hours after the Pulitzer-winning photojournalist was killed in Afghanistan on Friday.

Some of the trolls that targeted Siddiqui suggested that his photographs on the Covid second wave in India had defamed the country. Others referred to the insensitive remarks with which some people had responded to the death of a pro-Hindutva journalist a few months ago although Siddiqui had nothing to do with such intemperate comments.

So vicious were some of the Right-wing trolls that former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “That @dansiddiqui was killed by the Taliban while doing his job in Afghanistan is tragic but the fact that there are b******* out there celebrating his death because Danish was good at his job & made them uncomfortable is beyond reprehensible….”

The Editors Guild described Siddiqui’s death — he was killed while covering a clash between Afghan security forces and the Taliban — as an irreplaceable loss to journalism.

“Over the past decade, he had covered some of the most heart-wrenching stories of conflict and humanitarian crisis from South Asia and the surrounding regions… and most recently, the coverage of the devastating human tragedy caused by the pandemic,” the Guild said.

“His work was… a living testament to the axiom of photojournalism, ‘if your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough’,” the Guild added, referring to Siddiqui’s last assignment in Afghanistan.

“His death is an occasion to remember him and all the journalists who have died in conflict reporting.”

Among the organisations and agencies that paid glowing tributes to Siddiqui were the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based non-profit, the International Press Institute, a global network of media professionals, Amnesty International and the US state department.

This story first appeared on telegraphindia.com