Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was heckled by a group of Khalistani supporters who raised slogans against him and briefly interrupted his speech during an event in Santa Clara, the US state of California.
Gandhi was speaking at the 'Mohabbat Ki Dukaan' event organised by Indian Overseas Congress USA in Santa Clara on Tuesday when some people from the audience started raising slogans against him and the Gandhi family in connection with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
An unperturbed Gandhi smiled in response to sloganeering and said: "Welcome, welcome ... nafrat ke bazaar mein mohabbat ki dukaan".
The 52-year-old former Congress president then joined his supporters in the audience and responded with 'Bharat Jodo' slogans.
"The interesting thing about us, about the Congress party, is that we have affection towards everybody. If someone wants to come and say something regardless of what they are saying, we are happy to listen to them.
"We are not going to get angry, we are not going to get aggressive. We will nicely listen to it. In fact, we will be affectionate to them, will be loving to them. Because that's our nature," he said.
Sharing a clip of the incident on Twitter, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Amit Malviya wrote: "Rahul Gandhi heckled for the 1984 Sikh genocide (unleashed by the Congress), in America...aisi nafrat ki aag lagayi thi, jo ab tak nahi buji (the fire of hatred you ignited is still burning strong)."
Reacting to Malviya's jibe, Congress leader Supriya Shrinate asked him why he was supporting the pro-Khalistan elements to oppose Gandhi.
"If you had listened further, you would have found out how the people raised Bharat Jodo slogan to give a reply to those Khalistani slogans. You also take the Tiranga and say 'Bharat Jodo'. Believe me, a traitor like you will also feel good," she tweeted.
Gandhi leader arrived in Santa Clara on Tuesday on a three-city US tour during which he will interact with the Indian diaspora and meet American lawmakers.