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Amid a surge in violence in Kashmir, the state Cabinet today expressed deep anguish over the loss of precious lives and asked the security forces to exercise maximum restraint while handling law and order situation. At a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti here, the Cabinet also "urged the civil society and parents to counsel the youth to stay away from violent protests which, in spite of maximum restraint, can at times lead to fatal consequences," an official spokesman said. The meeting, convened against the backdrop of unrest in the Kashmir valley over the last few weeks, reviewed the security and law and order situation and "expressed deep anguish over the loss of precious lives" in the violent protests. The Cabinet "directed the police and security agencies to exercise maximum restraint while handling law and order situation to prevent loss of human lives," the spokesman said. It made a "fervent appeal to all shades of political opinion to help restore peace and normalcy in the valley," he added. The Cabinet also directed the state administration to take all required measures to tackle the situation effectively and at the same time ensure that the general public is not put to any inconvenience and their grievances are addressed. The Kashmir valley has been witnessing violent protests over the last few weeks, with the peak being witnessed on the day of polling for by-elections to Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency on April 9, when eight people were killed.