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LAHORE KILLING: Happy Phd’s parents want his body back

They say he had left their Amritsar home in Nov 2008 and had not been in contact with them ever since
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Anil Sharma
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2020 10:18 PM IST

A day after Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) leader Harmeet Singh, alias Happy PhD, was killed in Pakistan, his parents on Tuesday demanded return of their son’s body for cremation.

Harmeet, whose name figured in several terror cases in Punjab, was killed allegedly by a local gang over a financial dispute stemming from drug smuggling at the Dera Chahal gurdwara near Lahore on Monday afternoon.

Harmeet’s father Avtar Singh and mother Khushbir Kaur are living in Amritsar’s Chheharta area. They said their son had left home in November 2008 and had not been in contact with them ever since.

“We have come to know about our son’s death from media. His body should be sent back for cremation,” said 71-year-old Avtar, who is a retired clerk of agriculture department.

He said, “In November 2008, my son had left our house. We tried to find him everywhere, but to no avail. In September 2018, we came to know from the officials of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and National Investigation Agency (NIA), who visited our house, that he had been living in Pakistan. We don’t even know that how he left India.”

He said, “When he was living with us, he was inclined towards religious activities. He was also very kind-hearted. How could he be a criminal?”

Harmeet’s parents last saw him in the morning on November 5, 2008. A police team from Makhu in Ferozepur district raided their house on November 6, 2008, and told them Harmeet had received a cache of weapons and ammunition from Pakistan.

Harmeet’s mother Khushbir Kaur, 70, a retired government teacher, said, “Before leaving home, Harmeet didn’t inform us where he was going.”

She said, “Since Harmeet left us, we have been living a terrible life. When he was living with us, we never found him involved in any criminal activity. He was very intelligent. He topped MA in religious studies and in psychology from Punjabi University, Patiala. He had also cleared the UGC (University Grant Commission) exam. He was doing PhD in religious studies from Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) when he left home.”

Harmeet’s only sister is married in Gurdaspur.

His name cropped up during the investigation of Nirankari Bhawan grenade blast in Amritsar. Three people were killed and 16 others were injured when two motorcycle-borne men lobbed a grenade on a religious congregation inside Nirankari Bhawan at Adliwal village on the outskirts of Amritsar in November 2018. Police had arrested Avtar Singh and Bikramjit Singh for allegedly lobbing the grenade. Avtar’s links were later traced to Harmeet. Police had said Harmeet was self-styled chief of ISI-backed KLF, based in Pakistan.

Harmeet had been heading the KLF after its earlier chief Harminder Mintoo was arrested by the Punjab Police from Thailand in 2014. Harmeet is also the prime suspect in the conspiracy behind target killings of some Hindu leaders in Punjab in 2016-17.

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