Missing Person: Hari Simran Singh Khalsa

T-Mobile withholds life-saving information 

By Shabd Singh Khalsa and Prabhjit Singh

January 2, 2015 –  Hari Simran Singh Khalsa, a 25-year old man born in Brooklyn, New York and a resident of Leesburg, Virginia has been missing since December 30 after he went on a short day hike in the mountains around Tepoztlan in Mexico.

A massive search is underway, but T Mobile in the U.S. and TelCel in Mexico are not releasing global positioning system (GPS) data from his cell phone to the family, even though that information would aid the search tremendously.

As the search moves into its fourth day, family and friends are asking everyone to put pressure on T-Mobile and TelCel to release the GPS data.

In addition, family and friends are desperately asking the United States Embassy personnel in Mexico City to provide more sophisticated equipment for the search, but so far they have not received any assistance.

They’ve asked them to military aircraft support with infrared technologies that can drop rescue teams to the top of the mountain.  They’ve also requested them to bring a highly-skilled and trained search-and-rescue team such as the U.S. Virginia Search and Rescue team – who are trained to find individuals in these conditions – help in the rescue effort.

Right now, search parties have to hike four hours to get to the spot where they believe Khalsa was last located. Khalsa, along with his wife Emily Smith, were on vacation at the Villa Maria Immaculada retreat center in Tepozltan to take part in a spiritual retreat. On the afternoon of December 30th, Khalsa took a hike in the mountains near the center.

Khalsa sent a text message to his wife at 12:30 pm on Tuesday, December 30th with a photo (see here) and a message, “Looking down on you!” The next message Mrs. Smith received was at 2:20 pm, and said, “I accidentally summited another mountain. Looks like I’ll be a little later coming back :). Save me some lunch if you can”. She has not heard from him since, and he has presumably lost communication capabilities.

The search began for him late that day and has continued since. While helicopters search from the air, ground crews with dogs and local mountain guides search the ground. But the search is hampered by a lack of technology. The ground crews have no long distance radios with which to communicate. And even if the helicopter finds him, it is not equipped to pick him up.

Because of (claimed) privacy laws with cell phones, TelCel has refused to release GPS data from Khalsa’s last known texts. This legal obstacle has greatly hindered the search-and-rescue operations. The family is seeking a court order for TelCel to release the data, in the hopes that it will aid in the search. But every moment the data is not released contributes to the difficulties in finding Khalsa.

Hari Simran Singh Khalsa is 25 years old, 5’10 and weighs 170 lbs. He was last seen wearing tan shorts, a white T shirt and a dark blue turban. He has  been running the Raj Yoga Center in Sterling, Virginia along with his wife for the last several years.

Khalsa is a long-time practitioner of Kundalini yoga, and earlier made headlines in New York for teaching Kundalini yoga and meditation to activists during the Occupy Wall Street campaign. He is an alumnus of Adelphi University in New York and the Miri Piri Academy in Amritsar, India.

The response from the police in Tepozltan, the Red Cross and from community members in the area familiar with the mountains has been tremendous. On January 1st, 150 local police showed up to help with the search, including the chief of police in Morelos, a nearby town. Search dogs are part of the rescue effort. The Proteccion Civil has also contributed to the search. Some 25 local climbers who know the mountains have also taken teams into the mountains.

However, every day that passes makes this situation more critical.

The family is requesting that the media cover this story. The most important objectives at this point in time are to request the US Embassy in Mexico City to contribute to the effort by bringing in more sophisticated equipment for the search. In addition, if international pressure can be put on TelCel to release the GPS data from Khalsa’s last known texts, that data could greatly improve the chances of finding him.

A missing persons report has been filed with local authorities in Tepoztlan. Khalsa’s family and friends have set up the website www.findharisimran.com to provide updates on the search effort, and are using the hashtag #findharisimran for relevant posts on Twitter and Facebook. They are requesting that all media inquiries be directed to Mr. Shabd Singh Khalsa and Prabhjit Singh (see contact information below).

A crowd funding page has been created to raise money to help pay for the search and rescue operation, which is: http://www.gofundme.com/helpfindharisimran

Shabd Singh Khalsa
Point of Contact for Search Team of Hari Simran Khalsa
(Currently in Mexico on site)
Phone: 703-340-5030 Email: shabdsingh@gmail.com

Prabhjit Singh
U.S. Based Contact
(202) 660-8666
Email: singh@rempower.com