What We Know About Sandeep Sharma, the Hindu LeT Militant

Sandeep, from Muzaffarnagar in UP, also played a key role in militant activities in the Valley, police said.

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 Sandeep Sharma’s criminal history is being  probed further.
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The Jammu and Kashmir police on 10 July arrested Sandeep Kumar Sharma, an alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba operative from Uttar Pradesh, who has been accused of being involved in a series of bank and ATM robberies in the state.

The Uttar Pradesh Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) interrogated Sandeep Sharma on 12 July along with other security agencies.

"Sandeep Sharma alias Adil underwent weapon training with LeT terrorists and also used to drive vehicles for LeT terrorists," UP ATS officials told ANI.

It was also reported that Sharma accepted his involvement in an attack on an Army convoy in Qazigund, weapon loot in Anantnag and an attack on a Police party in Achabal. Police are still interrogating to find his involvement in other incidents.

Sharma hails from Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh has not just been involved in robberies, but also played a key role in many militant activities in the valley.

According to the Indian Express, he is the first Hindu Lashkar militant who has been arrested in Kashmir since militancy erupted in the Valley.

According to the police, Sandeep first came to the Valley in 2012 and worked as a welder in the state during summers. In the winters, he would travel outside the Valley, mainly to Patiala.

Following this, he rented a place in Kulgum with Shahid Ahmad, Muneeb Shah, and Muzaffar Ahmad and planned to rob ATMs in the Valley. It was here that he came in touch with LeT terrorist Shakoor Ahmad.

While working in Punjab, he came in contact with one Shakoor Ahmad, a resident of Kulgam, who was also working in Punjab. In January this year, he came to the Valley and planned to loot ATMs and other robberies in south Kashmir.
Munir Khan, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir

The IGP revealed that this was the beginning of the criminal activities and while Sandeep was used for robbing ATMs, the “booty was shared”.

The fact that Lashkar-e-Taiba made full use of Sandeep being a non-local, points to the blurring lines between criminality and terrorism.
Munir Khan, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir

The IGP said Sandeep was involved in criminal and militant activities and became a "hardcore terrorist in the sense that he accompanied LeT terrorists in three actions".

He was involved in an attack on a police party in Achabal in south Kashmir on 16 June, in which Station House Officer Feroze Dar and five others were killed. He was also involved in the 3 June ambush on an army convoy in lower Munda in which a jawan was killed, and the snatching of weapons from retired Justice Muzaffar Attar's guard in Anantnag.

Sandeep, who is now in the state police’s custody, was nabbed from the same house where LeT commander Bashir Lashkari was killed on 1 July.

We apprehended Sandeep during the encounter in which notorious militant Lashkari was eliminated. It raised the fingers of suspicion. We were surprised to see a non-local sitting in the same house where the Lashkari was taking shelter, so we decided to go further.
Munir Khan

Asked whether this was a first case of its kind in the valley, the IGP said,

"In my knowledge, yes it is the first such case. Criminal elements are joining the militancy. Lashker has become an outfit of criminals… Militants are criminals".

(With inputs from PTI, Indian Express)

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