"Even if civilians were travelling in a vehicle and unintentionally followed the auto in which militants were travelling, the Army could have saved their lives by retaliating with caution", Nazir Ahmad, a Shopian resident, told BenarNews.
The tension prevailed in Kashmir after six people including four civilians and two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants were killed by army in Shopian last evening.
Colonel Kalia said the army men were fired upon and they retaliated, in which a militant was killed.
Authorities earlier believed that one suspected militant and three youths were killed in retaliatory firing in Shopian's Panhoo region.
Police found a auto at some distance away in which three boys were found dead.
Military officials said they had recovered a rifle from one of the slain militants, but local residents disputed the Army's version of events.
Media reports said there were dozens of clashes involving stone-pelting erupted in Shopian. "Further investigation is on", a police officer said. The overnight killings have triggered a serious crisis across Kashmir. Demanding a probe in the incident, NC's official spokesperson said, "The Shopian killings can not be justified with an arbitrary, unproven pronouncement of the youth being OGWs. Police has reached the spot and started legal formalities", a statement from the army said. "They are killed like ants and for them (army), AFSPA is a protection and Supreme Court of India is a judicial backer for murder", Lone, a post graduate in sociology said on Monday morning.
Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik termed the Shopian incident as "another example of brutal Indian aggression" in a joint statement and called on people to march to pay homage to the dead.
Schools and other education institutes, which were to open on Monday after a two-month winter break, remained closed as a precautionary measure in the Valley. Internet connectivity in south Kashmir was suspended while its speed was curbed at other places in the Valley.
Contrary to the Army's views, Ms. Mufti expressed "distress over the deaths of civilians caught in the crossfire".
At one of the funerals for the dead rebels, soldiers fired in the air to disperse thousands of mourners in a village in the Shopian area. The forces have conducted searches in Chawa, Mochi Mohalla, Crusher Morh, Tandwal, Thandikassi, Iran Khanetar, Gambhir, and Kakora areas.