With street battles spreading in the valley, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday sent a high level team to Baramulla district to help local administration take measures for restoring peace in the violence- hit North Kashmir towns.

The team would invite suggestions from members of civil society and senior citizens besides discussing with the district administration measures for bringing back normalcy in Baramulla and Sopore towns and adjacent areas, an official spokesman said.

Terming the situation in the Kashmir Valley “difficult and extraordinary,” Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday asked the people to respect curfew restrictions to help the government in restoring normality.

From Wednesday the curfew will be extended to all affected areas, he told journalists.

“It is not a simple law and order matter, which is there due to absence of or poor quality governance. It is battle of wits, ideas and a war of ideologies, in which various anti-national forces and vested interests have come together. It is unfortunate that emotional and vulnerable youth are being exploited and brought to the forefront.”

The government, he said, has a duty to maintain law and order.

Stating that the people should respect the curfew, Mr. Abdullah said: “Security forces have been told with the caveat of restraint that they have to enforce the curfew and bring the situation under control. We will ensure that it does not spread to other areas and I appeal to the people not to violate the curfew and not to engage with the security forces.”

He asked parents to counsel their children against indulging in stone-throwing.

Mr. Abdullah also made it clear that it was not proper to blame the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for the incidents. He denied there were differences between government and the CRPF as suggested by senior Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar a few days back.

Flanked by senior Cabinet colleagues, the Chief Minister appealed to religious leaders, civil society and all political parties to set aside political differences and come forward to restore normality.

Defending his government, Mr. Abdullah said: “We have seen locals beating the uniformed personnel mercilessly, so in retaliation, these things can happen,” he said, adding that “do not expect the security forces to observe much restraint in this situation. People should not take the law into their hands or target the CRPF time and again.”

He also appealed to the people of country to stand by him at this hour of trial.