Tannu Sharma is a local leader of the Hindu militant organization Bajrang Dal in Madhya Pradesh state. As the Chief Convenor of the Malwa division of Indore city, Sharma is responsible for overseeing the militant group’s activities in the region.
His affiliation with the organization is marked by his active promotion of anti-Muslim sentiments, propaganda, and conspiracy theories among the local populace. He has actively advocated the concept of ‘bulldozer justice’ as a means of delivering summary punishment against Muslims in Indore.
During the Hindu festival of Garba in October 2022, he issued a warning to non-Hindus, particularly Muslims, to refrain from participating in any events relating to the holiday, despite the fact that it is widely celebrated among all Indians. In his warning, Sharma labeled Muslim men as ‘jihadis’ and baselessly accused them of attending festivals to lure Hindu women into ‘love jihad’ and converting them to Islam.
In February 2023, Sharma and his Bajrang Dal associates, along with the local police, forcefully entered the home of a Muslim man named Mohd Rizwan to harass and threaten Rizwan and his friends. At the Bajrang Dal’s demand, police took the Muslim men into preventive custody. Meanwhile, Sharma forcibly took Rizwan’s cell phone and directed communal slurs and profanities at him. Additionally, he falsely accused Rizwan of orchestrating the ‘love jihad’ conspiracy to entice unsuspecting Hindu girls.
In July 2023, Sharma organized a protest at Palasia police station, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, alleging the rampant sale of drugs in the area. He accused a Muslim youth, Belal Khan, of being involved in drug peddling and demanded that the accused’s house be demolished as punishment.
In August 2023, during a Hindu mob-led outbreak of violence in Haryana, Sharma and local vigilantes organized protests, burning effigies symbolizing Muslims and chanting anti-Muslim slogans, including “kill the anti-national bastards”. The protests were fueled by misinformation regarding the deaths of Hindu men during the violence in Nuh.
In September 2023, he organized a weapon training camp for Hindu girls, encouraging them to carry weapons for self-defense against perceived threats from ‘jihadis’. He also promoted the conspiracy theories of ‘love jihad’ and ‘demographic change.’