Published on Mar 21, 2013
Several killed after dispute over a hairpin in Myanmar
United States Thursday expressed great concern due to the unrest and made it clear that it is monitoring the situation closely.
The unrest began Wednesday when a Buddhist couple tried to sell a hairpin to a Muslim gold trades. The needle must have been damaged during the trade, and the noise in the shop spread to the surrounding streets in the city of Meiktila, say advocates of government.
The riots described as the worst since the clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine state west of the country last year. Around 200 people took part in street battles, and among the victims was a Buddhist monk who died of severe burns.
- The situation is getting worse. The police are unable to control people. There are groups in the streets with knives and sticks, said a resident who did not wish to be named.
Police on Thursday introduced a curfew in an attempt to calm the situation, which was still described as tense. Three mosques should be destroyed in the fires of Meiktila, located in Mandalay region in the middle part of Myanmar.
- What is happening here is an act of religious excitement, and we are trying to calm down the situation, said the lawmaker Win Htein opposition party NLD, the party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.
- I've never experienced anything like this in Meiktila, he added.
- The development is highly unpredictable, it is impossible to say what will happen now, says Hein Thu Ang, a 29-year-old who lives in Meiktila.
- The violence may get worse, everyone around here is aggressive, says Hein.
Muslims make up about 4 percent of the 60 million citizens of Myanmar. They have faith in common, but are of diverse ethnic origin, some of which are of Indian and other Chinese or Bangladeshi descent.
The Muslims began to flow to the current state of Myanmar while it was a British colony and called Burma. They remained after British colonial rule ended in 1948, but has never been fully integrated into the population.
Thousands of Muslims from the ethnic Rohingyas have fled since last year from Myanmar, many in unsafe boats bound for Malaysia. It is feared that hundreds of these boat people may have drowned.