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Protest strike over mysterious killings of 3 young men shuts down Indian-ruled Kashmir

  • A Kashmiri snacks vender sits at a closed market awaiting customers during a strike in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Kashmiri separatists called for a complete shutdown across Kashmir on Wednesday, to protest the recent killings of three young men by unknown gunmen in north kashmir. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)

    A Kashmiri snacks vender sits at a closed market awaiting customers during a strike in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Kashmiri separatists called for a complete shutdown across Kashmir on Wednesday, to protest the recent killings of three young men by unknown gunmen in north kashmir. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Kashmiri vegetable vender pushes his  handcart through a closed market during a strike in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Kashmiri separatists called for a complete shutdown across Kashmir on Wednesday, to protest the recent killing of three young men by unknown gunmen in north Kashmir. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)

    A Kashmiri vegetable vender pushes his handcart through a closed market during a strike in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Kashmiri separatists called for a complete shutdown across Kashmir on Wednesday, to protest the recent killing of three young men by unknown gunmen in north Kashmir. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)  (The Associated Press)

The mysterious killing of three young men in conflict-wracked Kashmir has prompted protesters to call a general strike in the Himalayan region.

Indian government forces patrolled deserted streets Wednesday in the region's main city of Srinagar, where businesses, shops and schools were closed.

Villagers on Monday discovered the bullet-riddled bodies of the three local men bearing torture marks in an orchard in Pattan, north of Srinagar. It was not immediately clear what had happened, and police and anti-India separatists blamed each other.

Since then, anti-India protests and clashes with police have erupted in the territory, which is divided with Pakistan but claimed by both countries entirely.

Most people in the India-controlled portion mistrust Indian rule, and more than 68,000 people have died in a militant uprising and military crackdown.