Journalism Scholarship Announced in Memory of Slain Reuters Lensman Danish Siddiqui

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Danish Siddiqui

Aaghaz Foundation will give each year Rs.50,000 to an undergraduate student pursuing journalism

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — A Lucknow-based non-profit organisation run by Muslim professionals including journalists have come up with a unique way to cherish the legacy of Reuters’ photojournalist Danish Siddiqui who was killed in Afghanistan last week while covering clashes between Afghan Special Forces and Taliban fighters.

Aaghaz Foundation has announced an annual scholarship of Rs.50,000 in memory of Siddiqui. It will go to an undergraduate student pursuing journalism.

“It was a personal loss,” said founder of the foundation Mazhar Farooqui, a Dubai-based editor originally from Lucknow. “We thought we should do something to pay a long-lasting tribute to the outstanding work of a fellow journalist and decided to start a scholarship in his memory.”

Siddiqui was embedded with Afghan Army when his unit came under attack from the Taliban. He had been associated with Reuters as a photojournalist since 2010 after a stint as Television news correspondent in Indian TV channels. An alumnus of Jamia Millia’s Mass Communication Research Centre, Siddiqui won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for his coverage of the Rohingya crisis.

The scholarship was announced on July 19 and within hours, Farooqui said, they have been “deluged with applications”.

The application will go through screening and the “most deserving” will be selected to avail the scholarship provided “he or she is enrolled in a reputed institute and not some fancy expensive college”.

Aaghaz foundation was launched in 2004 in Lucknow. Some friends came together pooling in 100 rupees each with the aim to identify and help students who are unable to pursue education due to financial constraints. It began with support to one student. So far the Aaghaz has provided support to more than 20,000 students, according to Farooqui. He said, “Every month we provide for the educational expenses of 600-plus students across India.

The foundation provides support to deserving students under 30 different scholarship schemes instituted in memory of great personalities from Rohith Vemula to Maulana Kalbe Sadiq.

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