A statement issued by the family of slain Reuters photojournalist Danish Siddiqui claims his family was not consulted when a photo book called Hum Dekhenge was published.Despite their purported claim in media interviews, 'Hum Dekhenge' had not sought permission from Siddiqui's family to do so.
Danish's family said that claiming he was involved in the book's writing could raise questions about his "professional ethics" and "credibility".
Published by White Dot Publishers, the book was curated by Aasif Mujtaba and Mohd Meharban.
According to the publishers, it is "a visual expression of the unwavering resilience, courage, and perseverance of the Muslim community who not only stood strong, but fought bravely when their citizenship was being challenged by the state".
28 photographers captured and documented 223 photos for the book.
The publishers had stated in the press release, "It begins with anecdotes of bloodbaths in minority educational establishments In addition, we will take you to the North East Delhi pogrom that took place at Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia."
"Three Ps come together in the book: Protest, Propaganda, and Pogrom; A protest by the Muslim community against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act,A nefarious political propaganda campaign and a pogrom were conducted with the state's connivance and impunity," said the publisher.
Danish's father Akhtar Siddiqui stated, "The book's authors have dedicated this book for the late Danish Siddiqui, a Reuters photojournalist who died while working in Afghanistan in 2021." Additionally, the book's authors have said in media interviews that Danish was closely involved with the book and would contribute to its improvement. The family of Danish would like to emphasize categorically that no authorization for Danish's name to be associated with this project has been granted."
"We would like to categorically state that Danish Siddiqui maintained the highest standards of press freedom and integrity during his life and career as a journalist. He covered the Shaheen Bagh protests with objectivity and neutrality like any other professional assignment. Showing him falsely in this way raises wrong questions on his professional ethics and credibility and seriously hurt his professional standing, besides causing deep hurt to his already bereaved family," he said.
In his statement, Siddiqui expressed the hope that the authors will "take note of this and withdraw their press statements".
Danish Siddiqui's family also advised anyone planning to use his name for commercial or non-commercial purposes in the future to seek permission or approval from them.
Upon inquiry, Aasif Mujtaba stated he had received a message from Danish's father on January 17 following his objection, and had responded that same day, but has still not heard back.The book does not contain Danish Siddiqui's work; only one out of the 223 images was his, which we obtained from Reuters. However, his work belongs to his organization; it does not belong to his family.
Danish Siddiqui's family also advised anyone planning to use his name for commercial or non-commercial purposes in the future to seek permission or approval from them."Danish Siddiqui was Meherban's mentor, they worked together in Reuters and everyone knows that. He wanted to dedicate the book to him, and we can do that according to our rights," he said."A name cannot belong to anyone. If I wanted to dedicate a book to Gandhi ji tomorrow, who would I call? Rajmohan Gandhi or Tushar Gandhi? Even so, we had written to him that we would not use his name in media interviews, as we did not want any controversy to arise. As far as the commercial aspect is concerned, we have spent our own money on it.He added that Danish Siddiqui is not being used for commercial purposes.