Four persons were killed in fresh violence that erupted along the boundary of the districts of Bishnupur and Churachandpur in Manipur on Saturday night.

Following the violence, the Bishnupur administration on Sunday reduced curfew relaxation timings in the district. Restrictions will now be lifted only between 5 am and 10 am.

One of those who died belonged to the Kuki-Zo community. The remaining three belonged to the Meitei community and were shot dead by armed men around midnight in the Khoijuman Tabi village of Bishnupur district. They have been identified as identified as Naorem Rajkumar (25), Haobam Ibomcha (37) and Ningombam Ibungcha (32).

Bishnupur Deputy Commissioner of Police Lourembam Bikram said that those who died were “village volunteers” who were protecting their homes from attacks. “They were ambushed by the other side when they were guarding their houses,” Bikram told Scroll.

Members of the Meitei community have alleged that Kukis were behind the violence.

Shayam Kumar, a resident of Bishnupur’s Moirang town, claimed that some members of the Kuki community sent a drone and found out that only seven people were guarding the village. “After that, around 30 Kuki people came and destroyed bunkers at Khoijuman Tabi village just after midnight and snatched weapons,” he told Scroll. “They continued to attack and killed three persons.”

He said that the bodies have been taken to the home of the local MLA “in protest against sustained and unrestrained attacks by kukis despite the promises” made by Chief Minister N Biren Singh and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Kumar added that the Meiteis subsequently retaliated and burnt homes of members of the Kuki community near the Sangeng area. The houses belonging to the Kukis were burnt in the Langza village.

The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum said that a man from the Kuki-Zo community named David Thiek was killed by Meitei miscreants. The Churachandpur superintendent of police has confirmed the death.

Over 100 people have been killed and nearly 60,000 have been forced to flee their homes since violence first erupted in Manipur on May 3. Widespread incidents of violence and arson continue to deepen the crisis in the state.

Several Opposition parties have criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party governments at the Centre and the state for failing to end the violence.