8 months after Reuters photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was brutally executed by the Taliban, his family members have decided to move the International Criminal Court (ICC) against his killers. Siddiqui came under the public spotlight after his images of burning Hindu pyres were used for anti-India propaganda during the second wave of Covid-19 in India.
“On Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, Danish Siddiqui’s parents Akhtar Siddiqui and Shahida Akhtar will initiate a legal action to investigate his killing and bring those responsible, including high-level commanders and leaders of the Taliban, to justice,” read a statement by his family, which was posted on Twitter by India Today journalist Geeta Mohan.
“These acts and this killing constitute not only a murder but a crime against humanity and a war crime. This was not an isolated incident,” they further added. Siddiqui’s parents had accused the Taliban of being involved in over 70,000 civilian casualties.
The petitioners will be represented in the International Criminal Court by advocate Avi Singh of Cicero Chambers. A press conference will be held on Tuesday (March 22) during which Singh will brief the media about the salient features of the petition and will reveal the names of the accused involved in the brutal murder of Danish Siddiqui.
Details of the torture inflicted by Taliban
Danish Siddiqui was killed by the Taliban on July 16, 2021 during an assignment in the war-torn country of Afghanistan. He had travelled with the Afghan National Forces to the Spin Boldak region to cover the clashes between Afghan forces and the Islamists.
A report by PTI said that the Taliban attacked the Afghan forces when they reached a customs post. The Afghan forces split up, leaving Siddiqui with three other Afghan troops. During this attack, Siddiqui and Afghan forces were hit by shrapnel, who escaped to a local mosque where they received first aid.
Soon, the Taliban got to know that the Indian journalist was taking refuge inside the mosque. The local investigation suggested that the Taliban attacked the mosque only because of Siddiqui’s presence there.
“Siddiqui was alive when the Taliban captured him. The Taliban verified Siddiqui’s identity and then executed him, as well as those with him. The commander and the remainder of his team died as they tried to rescue him,” a report in the Washington Examiner said.
It was also reported that the Islamists had mutilated his body simply because he was an Indian. Afghan Army Commander Bilal Ahmed had disclosed that the Taliban first shot Danish and then ran a car over him.
The Taliban had mowed his lifeless body with the car, displaying their hatred for Indians. The revelations by the Afghan commander came to the fore when certain sections of the “liberal-secular” media in the country were absolving the crimes of the terrorist group by claiming that the Muslim photojournalist was killed during a crossfire.