A Manipur court on Friday granted bail to five men who were arrested in Imphal for allegedly carrying sophisticated firearms and wearing camouflage uniforms.

The court rejected the Manipur Police’s request for judicial custody, saying that “all the accused persons have not yet committed any prejudicial activities against the state till the time of the arrest.”

It directed the accused persons to cooperate with the investigation and granted them bail on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 each.

The five accused men were arrested on September 16 and charged under the stringentUnlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, as well as under sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Those arrested were identified as Moirangthem Anand Singh, Athokpam Kajit, Loukrakpam Michael Mangangcha, Konthoujam Romojit Meitei and Keisham Johnson.

Their arrest had led to widespread protests by the Meira Paibis, a community of Meitei women, and other Meitei groups in Imphal. They had claimed that the five armed men were village volunteers and had demanded their release. The groups had also called a 48-hour bandh across Imphal on Tuesday.

On Thursday, the groups had stormed police stations in Imphal, demanding the release of the five men. At least 10 persons were injured in the clashes between the Meitei groups and security forces. The home of Deputy Superintendent of Police Ingoucha Singh was also vandalised and partially burned by a mob of 20-25 persons.

A full curfew was imposed in the Imphal East and Imphal West districts as a precautionary measure by the authorities.

On Friday, defying curfew restrictions, hundreds of women sat in front of the Cheirap court premises in Imphal West district, where the hearing was held, demanding the release of the five accused, according to PTI.

Over 200 people have been killed since the conflict broke out between the Meiteis and the Kukis in Manipur on May 3. Nearly 60,000 persons have been forced to flee their homes. The state has reported cases of rape and murder, and mobs have looted a police armoury and set several homes on fire despite the heavy presence of central security forces.