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Four killed in paramilitary firing in Indian-controlled Kashmir

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Four people were killed and another wounded Saturday after India's paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) fired at them in Indian-controlled Kashmir, police said.

The firing took place in Gagran village of Shopian district, about 50 km south of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian- controlled Kashmir.

One of the dead was identified as civilian Towseef Ahmad Bhat. He succumbed on way to hospital, while another civilian Adil Ahmad Wachkoo was admitted to Srinagar hospital.

The killings triggered massive protest in Shopian town and adjacent areas. The protesters were marching, shouting slogans and demanding justice. Authorities have deployed police and paramilitary troops in the town.

Inspector General of CRPF Nalin Prabhat told Xinhua that militants attacked their bunker in the village and in retaliation three militants were killed.

"Six militants attacked our bunker in Shopian by firing bullets," said Prabhat. "Our men fired in retaliation and after brief exchange of fire between two sides, three militants were killed."

The bodies of three men have been taken to district police office in Shopian for identification.

Locals alleged all the slain men were civilians and CRPF opened fire without any provocation.

"Law and order problem has erupted in Shopian," said a police spokesman. "We are trying to get details and will soon be sharing that with media."

The incident came hours before Zubin Mehta's concert in Srinagar, scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. Officials say 1,500 guests, including diplomats, Indian film stars and government officials are expected to turn up.

A guerrilla war has been launched by militants against Indian rule in the restive region since 1989.

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