New Delhi, Jul 17: "He was an extremely emotional person," said Mohammad Akhtar Siddiqui in a voice full of grief and pride as he remembered his "brilliant and dashing" photojournalist son, Danish Siddiqui.
Danish Siddiqui, in his early 40s, was killed during clashes in Spin Boldak district in Afghanistan's Kandahar on Friday, Tolo News quoted sources as saying. It said fierce fighting has been going on in Kandahar, especially in Spin Boldak, for the last few days.
The Indian journalist was covering the situation in Kandahar.
"He was a very calm and quiet, a very loving son. He loved children a lot. A very emotional person," the retired Jamia professor said a day after the grim news of Danish Siddiqui's death, something no father would want to hear in his life, reached Delhi.
Talking about his work that required him to be in life-threatening situations, Akhtar Siddiqui said the family got used to his work life over the years.
"We used to tell him in the beginning what was the need for such a job, but we almost got used to it. He'd tell us they have security, they travel with full protection. We only told him to maintain all precautions," he told PTI.
In the last one year, Danish Siddiqui extensively covered the COVID-19 pandemic across the country.
"He was a brilliant and dashing chap. He had a lot of commitment towards his work, passion to face challenges. Even during the pandemic, Delhi riots, he reported the facts despite the challenges," he said.
"Passionate and energetic" as a child, Akhtar Siddiqui remembered, Danish would finish with perfection whatever he set his mind to.
"He was extraordinarily courageous," the father said before his voice trailed off.
Danish Siddiqui's work as a photojournalist with Reuters news agency since 2011 involved reporting on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Rohingya refugee crisis, the protest in Hong Kong and earthquakes in Nepal.
Based in Mumbai, he had received the Pulitzer Prize as part of the photography staff of the news agency.
He graduated with a degree in Economics from Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. He had a degree in Mass Communication from the AJK MCRC in Jamia in 2007.
Starting his career as a television news correspondent, he switched to photojournalism and joined Reuters as an intern in 2010.