Danish Siddiqui, India’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographer Killed In Afgahnistan

Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was killed on Friday, July 16th while covering a clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters near a border crossing with Pakistan. As per reports, he was killed while on assignment in southern Afghanistan after coming under fire by Taliban militiamen. Siddiqui, who was 38 years old, had been embedded with Afghan special forces in southern Kandahar province when he was killed along with a senior Afghan officer, Reuters reports. Siddiqui was part of a Reuters team to win the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis.

Siddiqui was reporting from Afghanistan as U.S. forces complete their withdrawal, ordered by President Biden to wrap up by Sept. 11. As the U.S. leaves, the Taliban — long held at bay by American might — have been rapidly capturing territory, leading to concern that the Afghan government could collapse. Siddiqui reported to his editors earlier on Friday that he had sustained a shrapnel wound to the arm during a clash between Afghan troops and the Taliban at the town of Spin Boldak, but that he had been treated for the injury, according to Reuters. Later, as he was interviewing local shopkeepers, the Taliban attacked again, the news agency said, quoting an Afghan commander

“We are urgently seeking more information, working with authorities in the region,” Reuters President Michael Friedenberg and Editor-in-Chief Alessandra Galloni said in a statement. “Danish was an outstanding journalist, a devoted husband and father, and a much-loved colleague. Our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.” SaadMohseni, the CEO of Afghanistan’s MOBY Group, the largest media company in the country, described Siddiqui as “an extremely brave and talented journalist” and said his death “tragically demonstrates the dangers that journalists in Afghanistan face for doing their jobs.”

Mohseni said that Afghan journalists were being killed or threatened. “Despite these dangers, they continue to do their work, reporting on the fighting that is consuming the country, on the human rights violations that are proliferating, and on the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Afghanistan,” he said. Working for Reuters since 2010, Siddiqui covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Rohingya refugees crisis, the Hong Kong protests and Nepal earthquakes. Siddiqui extensively covered the brutal second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in April and May as it ripped through India’s cities and villages.

In one of his last pictures, Siddiqui photographed a member of Afghan special forces firing at Taliban fighters at a check post in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province. Siddiqui was embedded as a journalist since earlier this week with Afghan special forces in Kandahar. In recent months, Siddiqui chronicled a growing COVID-19 wave that swept through India, killing thousands. The assignment was not without controversy, as some in India expressed outrage over photos showing mass cremations of those who died from the disease.

Siddiqui’s pictures of mass cremations of Covid-19 victims at funeral grounds in Delhi went viral. The funeral pyres burning round-the-clock and cremation grounds running out of space told the story of a death toll unseen and unacknowledged in official data by India and the state governments. Siddiqui travelled to smaller cities and villages to chronicle the unfolding tragedy. In April 2020, Siddiqui covered the exodus of tens of thousands of migrant workers from India’s cities following a sweeping lockdown to prevent the spreading of coronavirus.  Sprawled together, men, women and children began their journeys at all hours of the day. They carried their paltry belongings – usually food, water and clothes – in plastic bags. The young men carried tatty backpacks. When the children were too tired to walk, their parents carried them on their shoulders.

In August 2017, a deadly crackdown by Myanmar’s army on Rohingya Muslims sent hundreds of thousands fleeing across the border into Bangladesh. They risked everything to escape by sea or on foot a military offensive which the United Nations later described as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. Siddiqui is best known for his work covering the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh, for which he and his co-workers won journalism’s top prize in 2018. The Pulitzer board cited the “shocking photographs that exposed the world to the violence Rohingya refugees faced in fleeing Myanmar.” “I shoot for the common man who wants to see and feel a story from a place where he can’t be present himself,” Siddiqui once wrote of his photography.

Asian Americans Are The Fastest-Growing Racial Or Ethnic Group In The U.S.

Asian Americans recorded the fastest population growth rate among all racial and ethnic groups in the United States between 2000 and 2019. The Asian population in the U.S. grew 81% during that span, from roughly 10.5 million to a record 18.9 million, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau population estimates, the last before 2020 census figures are released. Furthermore, by 2060, the number of U.S. Asians is projected to rise to 35.8 million, more than triple their 2000 population.

Hispanics saw the second-fastest population growth between 2000 and 2019, followed by Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) at 70% and 61%, respectively. The nation’s Black population also grew during this period, albeit at a slower rate of 20%. There was virtually no change in the White population.

The growth of the Asian American population in the U.S. comes amid reports of discrimination and violence against this group since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. In a Pew Research Center survey conducted in early March 2021 – before the fatal shooting of six Asian women and two other people in the Atlanta area on March 16 – 87% of Asian Americans said there is a lot of or some discrimination against them in society. In a June 2020 survey, 31% of Asians reported they had been the subject of slurs or jokes since the COVID-19 outbreak began, and 26% said they had feared someone might threaten or physically attack them because of their race or ethnicity. (Asian adults in both surveys were interviewed in English only.)

Average population growth of Asian Americans has slowed over the past two decades.The average annual growth rate of the Asian American population in the U.S. has slowed since 2000. From 2000 to 2005, it grew by an average of 3.9% per year. It dropped to 3.1% per year between 2005 and 2010, remained at that level between 2010 and 2015, and then fell to 2.4% per year between 2015 and 2019.
Despite the slowdown, the U.S. Asian population has still had one of the highest growth rates of any major racial and ethnic group in most years since 2000. The exception was between 2005 and 2010, when the growth rate among Hispanic Americans slightly outpaced than of Asian Americans (3.4% vs 3.1% per year).

The Asian American population has increased in every state and the District of Columbia over the past two decades. California had an Asian population of roughly 5.9 million in 2019, by far the nation’s largest. It was followed by New York (1.7 million), Texas (1.5 million), New Jersey (870,000) and Illinois (732,000). A majority of U.S. Asians (56%) live in these five states.

In terms of growth rates, North Dakota and South Dakota saw the fastest increases in their Asian American populations between 2000 and 2019. The Asian populations in both states more than tripled during that time. Indiana, Nevada and North Carolina also saw significant growth as their Asian populations increased by 183%, 176% and 175%, respectively.

California, Texas and New York saw the most robust numerical growth in their Asian American populations between 2000 and 2019. Together, these three states accounted for 43% of overall Asian population growth in the U.S. during that period. The number of Asian Americans grew by over 2 million in California, by 883,000 in Texas and by 617,000 in New York. Notably, the Asian population grew more in Texas than in New York during this span, even though more Asians still reside in New York.

In West Virginia, the Asian population increased between 2000 and 2019 even though the state’s overall population declined. The decrease in West Virginia’s overall population can be largely attributed to a decline in the state’s White population, which makes up a majority of the state’s populace.

In four other states, increases in the number of Asian Americans between 2000 and 2019 exceeded the state’s overall population growth. That was especially apparent in Michigan, where the Asian population grew by more than four times as much as the state’s overall population (151,000 vs. 34,000). New York, Illinois and Rhode Island had similar patterns, though to a lesser degree.
In two other states, Asian Americans accounted for more than half of statewide population growth from 2000 to 2019. Asians accounted for 83% of total population growth in New Jersey and 57% in Connecticut during this span.