Award-winning Reuters photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was killed on Friday while covering clashes between Afghanistan security forces and Taliban insurgents in Kandahar city, the news agency said.

Siddiqui, 38, was the chief of Reuters Pictures multimedia team in India. Over the last year, he powerfully captured critical moments in India – tensions during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in 2020, the North East Delhi riots, the migrant workers exodus after the imposition of the countrywide Covid lockdown and the mass cremations during the devastating second wave of the pandemic in April and May.

He had covered many other important events, including the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the Battle of Mosul in 2017, the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar and the situation of asylum seekers in Switzerland.

Siddiqui and his colleague Adnan Abidi were part of the Reuters team that won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for images of the Rohingya refugee crisis.

A Rohingya refugee after crossing the Bay of Bengal. [Danish Siddiqui/Reuters]

“You can see the helplessness and the exhaustion of the woman, paired with the action that is happening in the background with the smoke,” he said about the photo. “This was the frame I wanted to show the world.”

In an interview to in 2018, the photographer said an image “should draw people and tell them the whole story without being loud”.

A gunman threatens anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protestors near Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi on January 30, 2020. [Danish Siddiqui/Reuters]

Siddiqui’s profile page on the Reuters website said he liked covering everything from business to politics to sports, but what he enjoyed most was capturing the human face of a breaking story. “I really like covering issues that affect people as the result of different kind of conflicts,” he said.

A group of men shouting pro-Hindu slogans beat a Muslim man during protests sparked by the Citizenship Amendment Act in Delhi on February 24, 2020.Credit: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Siddiqui’s work on the Covid-19 crisis in India also involved visiting hospitals in small towns. “India’s brutal second wave has reached the small towns and the countryside, ripping through a fragile health system not equipped to deal with such a large public health crisis.” he had tweeted on May 11.

A photograph of a mass cremation in Delhi on April 22 taken from a drone. Credit: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Speaking about his work, Siddiqui said he took pictures for the common man, who “wants to see and feel a story from a place where he can’t be present himself”.

A man walks past burning funeral pyres at a crematorium in Delhi. Credit: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Siddiqui, who won wide praise for his compelling photos, once said his biggest lesson was to adapt himself “as quickly as possible when the story changes in the middle of an assignment”.

Patients suffering from the coronavirus disease wait to get admitted outside the casualty ward at Guru Teg Bahadur hospital in Delhi on April 23. Credit: Danish Siddiqui

The photographer said he respected his subjects the most. “They give me my inspiration,” he had told Reuters.

A migrant worker in Delhi sets out for home after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown. Credit: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

As Siddiqui noted in one of his tweets, he didn’t believe he was being especially brave: it was all part of the job.

Siddiqui’s death led to an outpouring of grief on social media, as many remembered his iconic images.

Farid Mamundzay, Afghanistan’s ambassador to India, tweeted: “Deeply disturbed by the sad news of the killing of a friend, Danish Siddiqui in Kandahar last night. The Indian journalist and winner of Pulitzer Prize was embedded with Afghan security forces. I met him 2 weeks ago before his departure to Kabul. Condolences to his family and Reuters.”

“Huge loss to journalism,” said journalist Manisha Pande. “Some iconic work on protests in India, Delhi riots, second wave. A remarkable chronicler of his times, Danish Siddiqui’s work will live on for generations to come to learn and take inspiration from. Deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.”

“We are deeply saddened by the news of the tragic death of award-winning photojournalist Danish Siddiqui in the line of duty,” the Mumbai Press Club tweeted. “The bravest journalist, Danish, leaves behind an extraordinary body of work. Prayers and fond memories are what we have to remember our dearly departed.”