Indian paramilitary forces shot dead six people in a violent clash in restive Kashmir, officials say.

Authorities in Indian-controlled Kashmir imposed a curfew in Ramban district in Jammu after six civilians were killed after security forces opened fire on protesters that had gathered outside the Border Security Force (BSF) camp.

It is unclear what triggered the protests although reports said public outrage erupted after Indian troops raided a local mosque Wednesday.

Witnesses alleged BSF personnel barged into the mosque looking for militants and beat up the imam, or worship leader, and desecrated the Quran.

Local residents took up stones and began throwing them at the BSF base when the troops started firing.

“The BSF soldiers fired indiscriminately,” one witness told AFP.

Six people were killed and many were injured, with some in critical condition.

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde ordered an investigation into the shooting and appealed for calm in the tense region, reports AFP.

“I assure that any use of excessive force or irresponsible action shall be dealt with strictly,” he said.