Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday said the central government would support Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in his efforts to end the cycle of violence in the state that has claimed eight lives in the last four days.
Chidambaram said instructions had been reiterated to central paramilitary forces to observe maximum restraint while dealing with rioters but added that the Central Reserve Police Forces (CRPF) personnel "had to use force in self-defence".
He pointed out that since June 25, 53 CRPF personnel have been injured in Sopore and Baramulla. The people must therefore "reflect on the nature of the challenge faced by the security forces", he said.
Regretting the violence, he said: "I am particularly saddened by the fact that lives have been lost."
Chidambaram endorsed "every word" Chief Minister Abdullah spoke at a news conference in Srinagar, making a passionate appeal for peace in the Valley.
"I join the chief minister in appealing to the people to respect the law. I would especially appeal to parents to ensure that their children are at home when curfew is imposed.
"The central government will support the Kashmir government in its efforts to put an end to violations of curfew, stone pelting and rioting," the home minister said.
Chidambaram said there were "reliable reports that anti-national elements are trying to exploit the situation".
"Some militants may also have sneaked into the valley to trigger violence. I appeal to all those who believe in peace and development to stand by the state government and help (in) restoring law and order."