A top leader of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) has been killed by a local gang in Pakistan over financial disputes stemming from drug smuggling, according to security officials who did not want to be named.
Harmeet Singh, who was also allegedly involved in the murders of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders in Punjab in 2016-2017, was killed at the Dera Chahal gurdwara near Lahore on Monday afternoon.
He was wanted in India in several cases, and involved in the smuggling of weapons and drugs from Pakistan.
Officials said he was believed to have assumed the role of KLF chief after the outfit’s head, Harminder Mintoo, was held by Punjab Police from Thailand in 2014. Mintoo, who later escaped from the Nabha jail with a group of gangsters but was detained again, died of cardiac arrest in jail in April 2018.
Singh was a resident of Chheharta in Amritsar and had a doctorate that earned him the alias “PhD”. He was living in Pakistan for two decades.
In October, acting on India’s information, the Interpol issued “red notices” against at least eight Khalistan-linked terrorists based in different countries. Singh, alias “Happy PhD”, was in the list.
Singh, the Pakistan-based KLF handler, plotted to carry out an attack on the anniversary of the Operation Bluestar, which flushed out separatists from inside the Golden Temple in June 1984, according to police intelligence in 2019. The plan was foiled.Singh was also a suspect in the grenade attack on a prayer congregation at the Nirankari Bhawan in Rajasansi that left three persons dead and several injured in 2018.