SRINAGAR • A firefight near a 14th century Muslim shrine killed at least four in the Kashmir capital yesterday and sparked protests in the city, police said.
While deadly violence has increased in recent months across the restive Indian-administered part of Kashmir - a territory also claimed by Pakistan - such shoot-outs are rare in Srinagar.
Police said three militants and a police officer were killed in the battle in the streets near the Khanqah-e-Moula shrine, a tourist draw in Srinagar's Old City.
The clash sparked a showdown between protesters and the police, who fired tear gas at stone-throwing demonstrators shouting anti-India slogans. City shops and schools shut as news of the deaths spread.
Indian government forces cordoned off the Fateh Kadal locality, close to the shrine, after they received information about armed militants hiding in a house, a police statement said.
Witnesses said the gunfire broke out after soldiers knocked on the door of a house and took away a young man.
"We don't know where he is and now we hear (police) say he was a militant," the young man's brother Asif Nabi told reporters outside his home, which was burned down in the clash.
As the firefight wound down, officers turned on journalists reporting at the site of the encounter, injuring at least one reporter and two cameramen.