This is the true story of Meik-hti-lar incident between Burmese Buddhists and Bengali Muslims there.
Today March 20 at about 9 in the morning U Khin Maung Win and Daw Aye Aye Naing came to New Weint Sein gold shop (Muslim-owned) to sell their gold comb. The husband and wife U Khin Maung Win (46) and Daw Aye Aye Naing (45) were together with their two young children.
The Shop-owner Muslim woman Myint Myint Aye (a) She-tar then broke the gold comb into two pieces and rubbed both pieces on their grading stone and also applied acid on them. She then decided to offer only 50,000 kyats for the gold worth at least 100,000 kyats.
The Buddhist couple refused to sell at that low price and asked her to re-join two broken pieces together. The Muslim woman refused and told them to leave and a heated argument broke out. They finally came to blow after the Benmgali-Muslim shop-owner and her elder sister bitch slapped the Burmese-Buddhist couple. Daw Aye Aye Naing then started yelling out to the Burmese bystanders for help. Meanwhile the Bengali-Muslim husband of the shop-owner Htun Htun Oo (a) Ar-shit and his employee Nyi Nyi came in and started hitting U Khin Maung Win with timber 2x4 pieces. They both were yelling out that the Burmese-Buddhist couple and their children were trying to rob their gold shop.
As their Muslim relatives from other Muslim gold shops nearby joined the brutal attack on the Burmese-Buddhist family the bystanders started shouting at them to stop such unjust violence and they then called the police.
About twenty minutes later policemen arrived and they closed New Weint Sein Muslim gold shop and arrested Htun Htun Oo (a) Ar-shit and Nyi Nyi. But their accomplice Muslim women Myint Mtyint Aye (a) She-tar, Netty, and Boat-pwa escaped through the rear entrance of their shop.
By then time was about 10 in the morning and the Burmese crowd there was only about fifty. People thought that the escaping Muslim women were hiding in the upstairs apartment of Taw-win Yadanar Muslim gold shop next door. So they told police and the policemen went up there.
They found no Muslim women they were looking there except two teenage Muslim girls ferafully hiding there from the gathering Burmese crowd. Police and some local Buddhists then escorted them to safety through the angry crowd. Some Burmese threw stones at them but nothing serious happened to them as both Bengali-Muslim girls were wearing motorcycle helmets as precautions.
When the police and their charges got back at the police station there were big crowd of Burmese Buddhists waiting there. Requested by the district administrator and district police chief the town elders asked the crowd to disperse and at about 11 in the morning the crowd left the police station.
But the crowd at the New Weint Sein gold shop were getting bigger by the hour without a heavy police presence there and at about 1 in the afternoon the crowd turned violent and started destroying the New Weint-Sein gold shop and other Muslim gold shops in the area.
New Weint Sein, Taw-win Yadanar, Shwe Nandaw, Yunwady: all Muslim-owned gold shops were completely destroyed. All were affluent three-stories concrete buildings.
Burmese-owned Taing Chit gold shop was partly destroyed also as it was too late when the Buddhist mob discovered the Buddhist statue and Buddhist flag left inside the shop by the fleeing Buddhist owners.
By then about thirty riot police arrived at the scene but they just watched the destruction as a group of Buddhist monks also arrived and made an understanding with the police that they would control the Buddhist crowd not to target other Muslim properties in the town except the Muslim gold shops they had already started destroying.
As a precaution police detachments were sent to the mosques all over town and policemen with shields and bamboo sticks stood guard right in front of every mosque in Meik-hti-lar.
A Buddhist monk was killed by Muslims and deadly riots spread
Unfortunately at that time a Buddhist monk from Hanzar village of One-dwin township had come into the Meik-hti-lar town as a passenger on a motorbike and they were unknowingly riding through the Da-hart-tan Muslim ward the biggest Muslim quarters in Meik-hti-lar.
Already-agitated Muslims saw the Buddhist monk and chased the motorbike and managed to strike the Buddhist monk from behind with a sword and he fell to the ground from his pillion-riding position on the motorbike. He had a long deep gash on back of his head just above his left ear.
Despite the desperate pleas for mercy from the rider the Muslims forcefully took off his robe and brutally dragged the direly-wounded Buddhist monk into the nearby Myo-ma Mosque. Once inside the mosque they poured acid and petrol all over the wounded Buddhist monk and burned him alive. Only his discarded-robe and a large pool of blood were left at the spot on the road where he fell off the motor bike wounded.
Once that tragic news reached the crowd at the gold shops they immediately marched to Da-hart-tan Muslim ward and burned down the said Myo-ma Mosque and the nearby Muslim houses.
Muslims there retaliated by burning the Burmese houses and striking back at the attacking Buddhist mob. As Muslims were more numerous there many Buddhists were killed and wounded in that Muslim ward.
There are now 16 wounded Buddhists in the Meik-hti-lar Hospital and three were almost fatally wounded. So far one Burmese Buddhist died at the hospital and a few burnt-out corpses of unknown race have been recovered from the Muslim ward by the police.
During the riots a Muslim man driving a ten-wheeler truck tried to run over Burmese mob but he was hit in the eyes by Buddhists’ sling-shot balls and he lost control of his truck which was stopped after hitting a concrete building. He was pulled down from the truck and the Buddhist mob burned him alive.
The race riots were going on strong till 10 in the night when the district administration has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew (Act-144) indefinitely and the armed-riot-police battalions finally took over the whole town of Meik-hti-lar.
By 10:30 in the night all the mosques in Meik-hti-lar were burning and the local Muslims have taken all their young children, their women, and their old people out of the town in a long convoy of cars and trucks seen heading towards Taunggyi in the East. Only some Muslim men are left in the town to guard their properties.
Muslim population of Meik-hti-lar has dangerously swelled to the alarming level recently as the restless Muslim refugees fleeing from the recent racio-religious riots and unrests in Kyak-pa-daung, Kyauk-se, Ya-me-thin, and Taung-ngu and other places all over Burma had gathered at Meik-hti-lar the middle junction of various highways in Burma.
(Translator's Notes: Meik-hti-lar is the epicenter of Buddhist heartland in middle Burma. I used to know the area very well as my paternal clan is from Ma-hlaing a large township just a few miles north-west of Meik-hti-lar. The completely-Burmese area back then was basically the cradle of extremely brutal civil war between the ruling Socialists and the rebelling Communists in the whole 1950s.
Back then my late father Bo Htun Hla - an ex-army officer from Japanese-trained BNA (Burma National Army) and one of few trusted lieutenants of late General Aung San - was the Divisional Commanding Officer of 5,000 strong Communist 3M (Ma-thone-lone) Division controlling the triangular area of Mandalay-Meikhtilar-Myingyan during late 1940s and early 1950s.
Of course the Burmese Communists (CPB) were defeated there by the then-Socialists-controlled Burmese Army together with various Buddhist militias financed and armed by U Nu - Kyaw Nyein Socialist government.
Burmese there are most brutally militant compared to other Burmese anywhere else in Burma. In addition to the traditional weapons like long swords (Nghet-kyee-daung Dah) and long spears (Hlan-shay) openly carried by most men, most villages there has a cache of British Lee-Enfield .303 rifles secretly buried in the village ground. And the youths from that area are the main lifeblood of Burmese army which recruits only the Buddhist Burmese.
There were hardly any Muslims in that area before the 1970s. It seems now that within less than 40 years the invading Bengali-Muslims with massive financial support from Saudi Arabia have become the commercially dominant group building mosques and madrassas all over the place and the native Burmese-Buddhists must have deeply resented them and the eventual result is this racio-religious riots and the Muslim-cleansing which will follow like in the recent Arakan riots.)