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Posted at: Nov 30, 2018, 10:31 PM; last updated: Nov 30, 2018, 10:31 PM (IST)

SGPC chief in Chawla row too

Aide plays down Longowal’s picture with pro-Khalistan activist
SGPC chief in Chawla row too

Ruchika M Khanna 
Tribune News Service 
Chandigarh, November 29 

It’s not only Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, even Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Gobind Singh Longowal has courted controversy over a picture in which he is seen sitting next to the proKhalistani activist and former secretary of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC), Gopal Singh Chawla. 

The picture was clicked at the function for laying the foundation stone of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor in Pakistan yesterday. Chawla had resigned from PSGPC and is one of the most vocal supporters of Khalistan as well as the ‘Referendum 2020’ campaign, started by Sikhs For Justice. 

Longowal is still in Pakistan, and is expected to return only on Friday. Repeated attempts to contact him failed. However, Daljit Singh Bedi, spokesperson of SGPC, said that Longowal did not know Chawla. “Chawla would have come and sat next to Longowal and got the picture clicked. This does not mean that the SGPC president is dabbling with anti-national elements,” he added. 

Bedi also said that the seating arrangement was decided by the authorities in Pakistan, and Longowal had no control over who sat next to him. Meanwhile, Longowal is learnt to have visited Gurdwara Nankana Sahib today before returning to Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore. 

However, no meeting is learnt to have taken place between the SGPC president and officials of PSGPC to discuss the yearlong celebrations planned on both sides of the border to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. It may be mentioned that the SGPC and the PSGPC have been at loggerheads for years now. 

After SGPC opposed the creation of PSGPC, the visit of Sikh jathas to Pakistan had been stopped, forcing SGPC to beat a hasty retreat. Even now, PSGPC continues to follow the controversial Nanakshahi calendar, while SGPC follows a modified Nanakshahi calendar, prepared along the lines of Bikrami calendar

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