Since Monday, the Indian media has been abuzz with news headlines like:
- Hindu LeT terrorist arrested in Kashmir [TOI]
- Lashkar-e-Taiba has a Hindu face, his name is Sandeep Sharma [DNA]
- What We Know About Sandeep Sharma, the Hindu LeT Militant [Quint]
All these articles reported that a Hindu man named Sandeep Sharma had become part of the terror organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba and was responsible for a variety of crimes like robbing banks, ATMs, snatching weapons and even killing cops.
He was dubbed as as the first Hindu Lashkar ‘militant’ by the media which reported that he hailed from Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh. The DNA article even carried an analysis which stated that “The fact that a Hindu is enlisted in the ranks of jihadi terrorists is a cause for major concern for the security authorities, since profiling Islamic terrorists now becomes trickier than before”.
Media reports also claimed that the ‘Hindu terrorist’ Sandeep Sharma used to operate under the alias of Adil and used to live with two identities. So going by the reports, he was a Hindu who was using a Muslim name only to execute his work under multiple identities.
It was soon picked up by various individuals to insinuate the whole “Hindu terror” narrative:
Who is Sandeep Sharma from Muzzafarnagar helping LET , “Nation Wants To Know” Mr Arnab Goswami. Would you hold a panel discussion on this?
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) July 11, 2017
— Shujaat Bukhari (@bukharishujaat) July 10, 2017
The truth though seems to be completely different from what is being portrayed by a section of the media, especially the English language media.
According to reports  Sandeep had joined the terror organisation, after converting from Hinduism to Islam. According to these reports, incidentally appearing in local Hindi media, Sandeep had relocated to Kashmir in 2012 to work as a welder.
The reports then claim that he in that period fell in love with a Kashmiri girl, after which he changed his name to Adil by converting to Islam.
His foray into crime reportedly began when he met Kulgam resident Saheed Ahmed and those two along with Munib and Muzaffar Ahmed founded a gang. Then after indulging in criminal activity for some time, came in contact with Lashkar terrorist Shukar Ahmed, which ensued Adil/Sandeep’s association with the terror outfit.
Adil used to use both his Muslim and Hindu name to confuse the security agencies, which made it even difficult to track. However, there was no doubt that he had renounced Hinduism and become a Muslim.
Yet, for the English language media, he was “Hindu terrorist”.
This instance of terror organisations luring converted Hindus is nothing new. We had earlier reported how ISIS and its offshoots have been involved in targeting converted Hindus to spread terror operations in the Indian subcontinent. This included the 52 ISIS operatives who had been arrested by the NIA, out of which 15% were found to be converts from Hinduism and Christianity.
People were irked by this blatant misinformation spread by the media and reacted:
इस देश में हज़ारों लोगों के आतंकवाद की बलि चढ़ने के बावजूद मीडिया को आतंक का मज़हब नहीं पता था.संदीप ने आदिल बन के बता दिया! pic.twitter.com/NgvACiY0Lt
— Rohit Sardana (@sardanarohit) July 11, 2017
— Priti Gandhi (@MrsGandhi) July 11, 2017
Terrorists have no religion except when a Hindu converts to Islam,becomes terrorist. In that case he will still be called a Hindu terrorist pic.twitter.com/Nh1RDpX93s
— True Indology (@TrueIndology) July 11, 2017