Shopian: Four people were killed today in a shootout in Shopian area of South Kashmir.
The police claim the firing took place after a CRPF post was attacked by militants, in which two militants and two civilians caught in the crossfire were killed.
Police say two pistols were recovered from the site of the shootout.
Locals, however, allege the security forces killed innocent civilians in what they say was a cold-blooded encounter.
Soon after the incident, hundreds of people took to the streets and clashed with security forces in Shopian. The protesters even tried to attack the Deputy Commissioner's office.
Police used tear smoke shells and lathi charge to disperse the crowd. "We are trying to enforce curfew in Shopian town but it is very difficult to disperse the angry crowd,'' said a senior police officer.
The incident came hours before the high-profile Zubin Mehta peace concert in Srinagar, scheduled to begin at 5 pm today and expected to be attended by over 1500-strong exclusive audience, including government ministers and diplomats. (Read)
The separatist groups in Kashmir have boycotted the concert with a total shutdown in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley today.
A parallel counter concert has also been organised by a few groups, barely 10 km away from Shalimar Gardens, the venue of Mr Mehta's much anticipated concert.
Police however said the incident was unrelated to the Zubin Mehta concert.