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A mosque, a home and a shop were vandalised as mob violence broke out again in central Burma on Saturday.
The incident in Myit Chay, near Pakokku in Magwe Division, was sparked by the alleged assault of a Buddhist housemaid by her Muslim employers. After hearing the rumours of the assault, a gang of around 50 local Buddhist men gathered at the house of the alleged perpetrator and ransacked it. They then set about destroying the Muslim man’s shop before turning their attention to a local mosque.
A Myit Chay administrator has told DVB that the housemaid has been advised to press charges against her employer and his wife, who is also alleged to have beaten the women, and that local authorities have assured the public that action would be swift.
It is believed the employer, Moe Win, is now in hiding.
Housemaid Cho Thet Mar says she was beaten at her employer’s home after going there to confront him about unpaid wages.
“I went to ask for my money, but the boss’ wife told me they would not pay me,” she told DVB. “I told her that the matter wasn’t her business and demanded to speak to her husband.”
She said that when she began raising her voice and making a scene, both the employer, his wife and a manservant dragged her by the hair into the house and beat her. Cho Thet Mar said that she screamed for help, but although some neighbours heard her and saw the incident, they did not intervene.
Later on Saturday evening, a 50-strong gang of men attacked Moe Win’s home and shop. The mob then vandalised a local mosque, before finally being dispersed by police at 11pm.
Police estimate the damage to be in the region of US$400.
Myint Kyaw, a local administrator in Myit Chay, said, “I immediately informed the township administrator and he instructed me to take swift action against the couple, so I brought the police station chief along and advised the victim to press charges against them.”
He said he and the police chief assured the mob that swift action would be taken and charges brought against the Muslim couple.
The mob dispersed at first, he said, but later reappeared, threatening to seek further revenge.
The incident is the latest in a string of violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma. Mosques, Muslim homes and businesses have frequently been the targets of rumour-fuelled anger, most recently in Mandalay in July.