The body of Danish Siddiqui, a Pulitzer-winning Reuters photojournalist who was killed in Afghanistan earlier this month, was badly mutilated in Taliban custody, a report by The New York Times said, quoting officials.
Siddiqui was killed on 16 July, in Kandahar’s Spin Boldak district, while covering clashes between the Taliban and Afghan commandos.
Initial photographs from the scene showed that although Siddiqui’s body had multiple wounds, it was fully intact, the report said.
But by that evening, when the body was handed over to the Red Cross and transferred to a local hospital, it had been badly mutilated, according to two Indian officials and two Afghan health officials.
One Indian official said that the body had nearly a dozen bullet wounds along with tyre marks on his face and chest. Another official said that Siddiqui’s face was unrecognisable.
But a Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, denied any wrongdoing, the report said. Mujahid said that they were under orders to treat bodies with respect and to hand them over to local elders or the Red Cross.
Recently, a report published by American magazine Washington Examiner also said that Siddiqui was not simply killed in a crossfire, nor was he collateral damage, rather he was brutally murdered by the Taliban.
The report said that after a Taliban ambush, Siddiqui was hit with shrapnel, following which he and his team went to a local mosque for first aid. As the word spread, however, that a journalist was in the mosque, the Taliban attacked.
The local investigation suggests that the Taliban attacked the mosque only because of Siddiqui's presence there, it said.
Siddiqui was one of two Indians in a seven-member Reuters team that bagged the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography in 2018, for their series documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis.
His work has been widely published in scores of magazines, newspapers, slideshows, and galleries.
(With inputs from The New York Times, Washington Post)
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