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Shops, schools shut across Indian-controlled Kashmir in protest against recent killings

  • A Kashmiri woman walks through a closed market during a strike in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Kashmiri separatists called for a complete shutdown across Kashmir on Wednesday, to protest the recent killings of civilians by unknown gunmen in the town of Sopore. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)

    A Kashmiri woman walks through a closed market during a strike in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Kashmiri separatists called for a complete shutdown across Kashmir on Wednesday, to protest the recent killings of civilians by unknown gunmen in the town of Sopore. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Kashmiri civilian rides on his bicycle through a closed market during a strike in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Kashmiri separatists called for a complete shutdown across Kashmir on Wednesday, to protest the recent killings of civilians by unknown gunmen in the town of Sopore. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)

    A Kashmiri civilian rides on his bicycle through a closed market during a strike in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Kashmiri separatists called for a complete shutdown across Kashmir on Wednesday, to protest the recent killings of civilians by unknown gunmen in the town of Sopore. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Kashmiri children play at a closed market during a strike in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Kashmiri separatists called for a complete shutdown across Kashmir on Wednesday, to protest the recent killings of civilians by unknown gunmen in the town of Sopore. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)

    Kashmiri children play at a closed market during a strike in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Kashmiri separatists called for a complete shutdown across Kashmir on Wednesday, to protest the recent killings of civilians by unknown gunmen in the town of Sopore. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)  (The Associated Press)

Stores, businesses and schools were shut across Indian-controlled Kashmir after separatists called a strike to protest a series of killings over the past week.

Authorities say their initial investigations indicate rebels killed the four victims, each with a close-range shot to the back of the head. But separatists who challenge India's sovereignty over Kashmir say secret government agencies were behind the killings. The murders occurred in the town of Sopore.

On Wednesday, security forces patrolled the streets of Indian Kashmir's main city, Srinagar, and buses and taxis stayed off the roads. Many government employees also stayed home.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan but claimed by both in its entirety. Rebels want the region to merge with Pakistan or to become independent.