The death of Reuters photojournalist Danish Siddiqui has sparked a wave of hate messages on social media.
While Siddiqui's acquaintances and followers took to Twitter to mourn his demise, some others used the platform to denounce his work, and termed his death as a 'karmic' consequence of what he did. Some of the more extreme hate posts on Siddiqui also celebrated and rejoiced his death, with some of them sharing photos of his dead body.
Siddiqui gained international prominence in covering major events like the Rohingyas refugee crisis, Delhi riots, India's migrant worker crisis during the pandemic, and the more recently, the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
While Siddiqui's drone-shot photo of mass funeral pyre-burning in Delhi became symbolic of the country's alarming situation, many in India, particularly from the right-wing, criticised his coverage of Hindu funerals, and termed him as anti-Hindu.
Calling It Karma
Soon after his death, social media users drew a parallel with the shooting of the funeral pyre image, and the image of his dead body, which is currently being circulated on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.
Within five hours after report of Siddiqui's death hit the news, BOOM found that more than hundred posts were made calling his death (and the viral photo of his body) a matter of 'karma' for having shot the funeral pyre photo.
"Just Heard Danish Siddiqui, who earned quite a lot by taking drone images of cremation of bodies and selling it to western media during corona peak was killed by Taliban terrorists. The shot of his dead body is going around in the internet now," wrote Vishwa Hindu Parishad spokesperson Shriraj Nair in a tweet. "Karma wins", he added.
In his tweet, Nair also included the viral photo of the funeral pyre shot by Siddiqui, along with a photo of his dead body.
Click here to view an archive of Nair's tweet (Trigger Warning: The archived tweet contains a disturbing photo of a dead body.)
Right-wing media outlet Kreately also posted photos taken by Siddiqui and wrote, "We pray & hope no one flies a drone over his last rites & let the family mourn in private. He unfortunately did not have the courtesy to let #Hindu families mourn in private & sold this particular work for profit."
Click here to view an archive of the tweet.
The website also published a story titled, "The journalist who used "Corpse over Selfish Goal" Killed In Afghanistan", where the author further denounced Siddiqui's work, and defended the use of the photo of his dead body.
"Wasn't this Danish Siddiqui the same guy who was selling pics of funeral pyres during peak Covid for money?" stated right-wing author Shefali Vaidya in a tweet.
Union Minister Anurag Thakur, who wrote a word of condolence on Siddiqui's death, was in turn trolled for his post.
Major (Retd.) Neelam Singh, who runs the prominent right-wing handle The Skin Doctor, called Thakur out for posting the condolence message on Siddiqui's death.
"Thakur Sahab you could have paid the condolences without sounding this desperate for left validation. I searched and couldn't find a single condolences tweet from your account for your karyakartas kiIIed in Bengal. Matlab kamaal hi ho aap log," he wrote.
Solidarity With Siddiqui Continues
Despite the wave of hate messages targetting Siddiqui for his work, scores of other social media users came out in his support, and denounced the hate campaign.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took to social media to condemn those celebrating Siddiqui's death. "That @dansiddiqui was killed by the Taliban while doing his job in Afghanistan is tragic but the fact that there are bastards out there celebrating his death because Danish was good at his job & made them uncomfortable is beyond reprehensible," he tweeted.
Journalist Barkha Dutt quote-tweeted a tweet by a handle called "Cabinet Minister, Ministry of Memes, India", that mocked Siddiqui's death, and joked about 'replacing' him in Afghanistan with Dutt.
Journalist Aditya Menon also shared screenshots of tweets celebrating Siddiqui's demise, to call them out.
Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, was killed in Kandahar while covering clashes between Afghan forces and the Taliban.
In a Twitter thread on July 13, Siddiqui had documented the clash in Kandahar in a series of videos and photos.
Updated On: 2021-07-16T20:07:29+05:30