Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 28
From pursuing PhD in religious studies from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, in 2008 to becoming the chief of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) in Pakistan, Harmeet Singh, alias Happy PhD, remained a headache for the Indian security agencies for more than 11 years.
The news of Happy PhD’s killing in Lahore on Monday brought relief to security agencies, especially the Punjab Police, which had got nine red corner notices issued against him.
He was one of the most active militants in Pakistan and was said to be involved in almost every terror attack, radicalisation of youths and drug smuggling in Punjab. No wonder, he was on the most wanted list of the state police.
“Happy PhD and his associates used to radicalise youths in Punjab and take funds from abroad in the name of Khalistan. He was deep into drug smuggling, trying to fund terror activities,” a senior Punjab Police officer said.
His name first appeared in terror-related activities on November 5, 2008, when the Makhu police of the Ferozepur police district named him in an FIR for having received a cache of weapons and ammunition from Pakistan to kill Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
A police dossier on Happy PhD said the Makhu police had arrested three of his accomplices that day, but he was said to have escaped. The dossier also mentioned that five AK-56 rifles, 11 pistols, 900 cartridges, about Rs25 lakh fake Indian currency and 25-kg heroin were recovered from the three men.
They told the police that Happy PhD was the key man communicating with Pakistan-based handlers and local smugglers.
Harmeet reportedly moved to Pakistan and earned the name of Happy PhD. He rose through the ranks fast and became the KLF chief in a few years. Several men arrested in connection with targeted killings of right-wing leaders and dera followers told the police that Happy PhD was handling the operations.
Recently, his name figured in a drug smuggling case in May 2019. Two arrested smugglers told the police Happy PhD had sent them two consignments of heroin of 5 kg and 3 kg through Kashmir-based peddlers.
Police officials said he was considered the main link between Khalistani and Kashmiri militants.
Happy PhD also ran a network of funding terror activities and smuggling through Dubai-based smuggler Jasmeet Singh Hakeemzada. The United State Department of Treasury, in a recent report, had listed Hakeemzada and his network as one of the most significant narcotic trafficking networks in the world.
From Harmeet to Happy PhD
- In 2008, Happy PhD cleared the Junior Research Fellowship test in religious studies, entitling him to monthly stipend of Rs 12,000
- He joined PhD at GNDU, Amritsar, in August 2008; went missing on November 5, 2008
- He was named as a key conspirator in a series of targeted killings of leaders of the Shiv Sena, RSS and Dera Sacha Sauda. Police officials said he was considered the main link between Khalistani and Kashmiri militants
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