Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar yesterday, hit back at Anna Hazare for justifying the recent physical attacks on politicians, but appealed to his partymen to refrain from violent retaliation.

Pawar said though he was pained by the vituperative statements by Hazare, he would appeal to all his followers and NCP activists to deal with the issue "maturely" and without indulging in any form of violence in words or deeds.

"By supporting the physical assault on me at a public function, Hazare has given a new definition to the concept of 'Gandhism and non-violence'," Pawar said sarcastically, referring to Hazare's oft-repeated claims of being a Gandhian and believer of non-violence.