The medical report of the body of Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui has confirmed that he was brutally tortured to death and his body was severely mutilated, News18 reported.
News18 accessed multiple photographs and X-rays of Siddiqui's body that revealed 12 bullet wounds on the torso and behind the head. It was initially reported that Siddiqui died in a crossfire between the Taliban and Afghan forces.
#EXCLUSIVE | CNN-News18 has accessed for the first time a medical report of Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui’s mortal remains which confirms that he was brutally tortured to death@AdityaRajKaul reports pic.twitter.com/viNkrHUQ2a
— News18 (@CNNnews18) August 2, 2021
The report also shows that his head and chest were crushed under an SUV by the Taliban while Siddiqui was reporting on efforts by the Afghan Special Forces to retake the main market area of Spin Boldok, near the border with Pakistan.
Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Reuters photojournalist, was killed in Afghanistan on 16 July.
Siddiqui had recently reported on a mission by Afghan special forces to rescue a policeman who had been cut off from others and had fought the Taliban for hours before his death.
According to NDTV, Siddiqui was first wounded by shrapnel and taken to a nearby mosque to receive first aid.
Word of his stay spread, prompting Taliban fighters to attack the mosque and a local investigation to conclude the Taliban only attacked because they knew the photojournalist was hiding there, according to the Daily Mail.
What is the international media saying
On Sunday, a New York Times report said that Siddiqui had a dozen bullet wounds along with tyre marks on his face and chest. The report said that initial photographs from the scene showed Siddiqui’s body with multiple wounds but fully intact.
But by that evening, when the body was handed over to the Red Cross and transferred to a hospital in the southern city of Kandahar, it had been badly mutilated, according to two Indian officials and two Afghan health officials there.
A health official in Kandahar said that Siddiqui's body along with his press vest, reached the city’s hospital around 8 pm on the day he was killed. An official also said that his face was unrecognisable and it couldn't be determined what had been done to his body.
Hours after the news of Siddiqui’s demise spread, the Taliban denied a role in his death. Denying that Taliban had a hand in Siddiqui’s killing, its spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said, “We are not aware during whose firing the journalist was killed. We do not know how he died."
However, a report in US-based magazine, published on Thursday, indicated that he was not simply killed in a crossfire nor was he simply collateral damage, but was "brutally murdered" by the Taliban after verifying his identity.
"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," the report said.
Siddiqui won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018 as part of the Reuters team for their coverage of the Rohingya crisis. He had extensively covered the Afghanistan conflict, the Hong Kong protests and other major events in Asia, West Asia and Europe.
With inputs from PTI