SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Indian National Congress party Sunday said killing of four youths in paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) firing in Indian-controlled Kashmir was "deplorable and highly painful."
The statement came a day after local residents and the region's separatists challenged the police and CRPF version about the firing incident at Gagran village of Shopian district, about 50 km south of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.
"I strongly condemn the unfortunate incident in which security forces killed four youths in Shopian," reads a statement issued by Saif-ud-Din Soz in Srinagar. "It is a deplorable act and is highly painful."
Soz, a former Indian minister, is president of Congress party in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
Police and CRPF officials initially said they were militants and attacked their camp. However, police admitted Saturday evening that two of the slain youths were local civilians. Another victim was identified early Sunday as Tariq Ahmad Mir from the adjacent Kulgam district. Local people and Mir's family at Kulgam said he was a walnut vendor purchasing walnuts from households.
The identity of the fourth youth is yet to be disclosed by police.
Soz asked the local government to share the "verified facts" with people.
"I make a strong plea with the state government to share the verified facts with the people of Jammu and Kashmir," the statement reads further.
The Congress party is running a coalition government with National Conference in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
The killings triggered violent protests in Shopian, following which authorities imposed curfew. Later on curfew was extended to Kulgam.
Muslim majority areas of Indian-controlled Kashmir Sunday observed a complete shutdown to protest the killings.
The killings took place hours before international classic music icon Zubin Mehta's concert in Srinagar's Shalimar Bagh.
Officials said more than 1,500 guests from Kashmir and beyond including diplomats, Indian film stars and government ministers and officials had gathered at the garden to listen to the timeless music of Beethoven, Haydn and Tchaikovsky to be played by Mehta's 150-strong Bavarian State Orchestra.
The Kashmir Concert was organized by the German Embassy in New Delhi with support from the local and federal Indian government.