The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Friday criticised the morphed photograph of former President Pranab Mukherjee from an event that he addressed at the Sangh headquarters on Thursday. The photo, widely circulated on social media on Friday, was edited to show Mukherjee raising his hand in salutation like the RSS leaders, and wearing a black cap.

In a statement, RSS Joint General Secretary Manmohan Vaidya said some “divisive political forces” were behind the circulation of the morphed photo. “These forces initially tried to create an opposition to make Mukherjee refrain from attending this function and now these frustrated forces are indulging in all such dirty tricks to defame RSS,” the statement read. “We denounce and strongly condemn the lowly act of these divisive political forces who are deliberately trying to defame RSS.”

Earlier on Friday, the former president’s daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee had rebuked her father for attending the RSS event and criticised the photo. “See, this is exactly what I was fearing [and] warned my father about. Not even few hours have passed, but BJP/RSS dirty tricks dept [department] is at work in full swing!” Sharmistha Mukherjee, who heads the Mahila Congress, said on Twitter.

The veteran Congressman’s decision to attend the event had caused consternation in his party, with senior leader Ahmed Patel on Wednesday tweeting his displeasure at the former president’s decision. Some party leaders had earlier downplayed Mukherjee’s decision, while leaders such as Jairam Ramesh, Ramesh Chennithala and CK Jaffer Sharief had urgedhim to reconsider his decision.

After the speech, however, the Congress said Mukherjee had shown the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh the “mirror of truth” with his speech.