After the farmers' Republic Day tractor rally against the farm laws turned violent on Tuesday, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar appealed the farmers to go back to their respective villages.
The former Agriculture Minister stated that the way the farmers' agitation was handled today is regrettable. He urged the protesters to not give any opportunity to the government to blame them.
"The way the agitation handled today is regrettable. We all sitting in Opposition support the farmers' cause and I appeal -- now you (farmers) should go back to your respective villages peacefully and should not give any opportunity to the govt to blame you," he said.
Sharad Pawar also blamed the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government for "not taking the protests seriously" and "failing to maintain the law and order situation" in the national capital.
"Farmers from Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh held protest in a disciplined manner but govt didn't take them seriously. As restraint ended, the tractor march was taken out. Centre's responsibility was to keep law & order in control but they failed," Pawar said
"Nobody will support whatever happened today but the reason behind it cannot be ignored either. Those sitting calmly grew angry, the Centre didn't fulfill its responsibility. Govt should act maturely & take the right decision," he added.
Wielding sticks and clubs and holding the tricolour and union flags, tens of thousands of farmers atop tractors broke barriers, clashed with police and entered Delhi from various points to lay siege to the Red Fort and climb the flagpole on Republic Day.
The protesting farmers deviated from their pre-decided routes, prompting security personnel to resort to lathicharge, tear gas and water cannons. Some protesters also installed flags in the lower ramparts of the Red Fort. This included the Nishan Sahib as well as union flags.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah met with senior officials from the Home Ministry to take stock of the law and order situation in the national capital, following intense clashes between protesting farmers and Delhi Police.
This comes after the Ministry ordered the suspension of internet services at Delhi's border points - Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi and areas adjoining these protest hubs due to the tense security situation in the national capital.
Farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at several Delhi border points, including Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur, since November 28, demanding a complete repeal of three farm laws and a legal guarantee on minimum support price for their crops.