In a major controversy, Shiromani Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa took to Twitter on Tuesday and claimed that his photo with pro-Khalistan leader and 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed's aide Gopal Singh Chawla is a "forced picture". In the tweet, Sirsa alleged that while he was at the Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan, Chawla's gunman took the picture forcibly from the back.
He further added that he refuses to meet people like Chawla who are "anti-India" and "act as hate peddlers". The Akali Dal leader is among the 500 Sikh pilgrims who reached Kartarpur on Tuesday to participate in the celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev's 550th birth anniversary at his birthplace on August 1.
In another tweet, Sirsa posted a video in which he explained how the picture was taken saying that he was in a drinking tea where Chawla walked in. When he started to move out, Chawla tried to talk to him. However, when he refused, Chawla's gunman clicked his picture with him and circulated around.
"Chawla entered my room where I was drinking tea. He tried to talk to me. However, I refused and started to walk out. His gunman took a picture of us from behind," the SAD spokesperson said in the video.
Condemning the actions of Gopal Singh Chawla, Sirsa further wrote that he will never meet people like him who are "puppets of ISI carrying anti-India agenda", he wrote in another tweet.
Notably, in earlier controversy in 2018, Congress leader and former Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu landed himself in massive controversy when he went to Pakistan for Kartarpur Corridor foundation stone-laying ceremony and his picture with Gopal Singh Chawla surfaced online at the same time. However, Sidhu had refused to have met the pro-Khalistani leader in the neighbouring country. Recently, succumbing to the pressure of the Indian government, Islamabad removed Khalistani radical Gopal Singh Chawla from the Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Committee.