Myanmar police on Tuesday detained a Muslim woman under suspicion of knocking a Buddhist monk’s begging bowl out of his hands, sparking an attack on a mosque and raising tensions.
“We had to detain the women to control the potential unrest in the region,” said a senior police official, who asked to remain anonymous.
The Information Ministry identified the woman as Win Win Sein.
The incident occurred early Tuesday as a novice monk, under the age of 20, was making his rounds collecting food in his begging bowl in Okkan district, 60 kilometres north of Yangon.
The Okkan township was place under a partial night curfew, outlawing the gathering of more than five people, Okkan Police spokesman Soe Myint said.
Buddhist residents responded to the alleged provocation by attacking a Muslim—owned shop and a mosque, causing minor damages, police said.
The situation had been brought under control by 3 pm, police said.
The seemingly minor incident comes at a time of heightened sectarian tensions in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar.
In March, an altercation at a Muslim’s gold shop in Meiktila, central Myanmar, turned into a bloody riot that left at least 44 dead and over 8,000 people homeless.
Last year some 192 people were slain in sectarian clashes between Buddhist and Rohingya—Muslim communities in the Rakhine state in western Myanmar.
An estimated 125,000 displaced by the fighting in te Rakhine remain in refugee camps today, many of which are unprepared for the approaching rainy season, according to Human Rights Watch.
The group accused the government of complicity in what it termed ” ethnic cleansing” in the Rakhine last year.