On April 11, a court sentenced the gold shop owner and two employees to 14-year jail terms for theft and causing grievous bodily harm. On May 21, the same court sentenced seven Muslims to terms ranging from two years to life for their roles in the killing of the monk the day the unrest began.
On June 28, a Buddhist man was convicted of the murder of a Muslim elsewhere in Meikhtila and sentenced to seven years in jail, according to state prosecutor Nyan Myint. He said 14 Buddhists have been charged and are on trial for the Mingalar Zayone killings, some for murder, but none has yet been convicted.
Justice ‘‘is a matter of time,’’ he said. ‘‘The courts are proceeding with the trials and have no prejudice or bias against any group.’’
Aung Kyaw Moe, the security chief, said all those arrested were residents of Meikhtila, but he gave no other details.
No police have been reprimanded.
Similar patterns of justice have played out in other towns.
After Buddhist mobs burned several villages in the central town of Okkan in April, the first convicted was a Muslim woman accused of starting it by ‘‘insulting religion.’’ She had knocked over the bowl of a novice monk. Muslims say it was an accident.
And after more Buddhist mobs rampaged through the eastern city of Lashio in May, setting Muslim shops alight, the first convicted was the Muslim man authorities say triggered the unrest by dousing a Buddhist woman with diesel fuel and severely burning her.
One Muslim man was killed in each incident, but no one has been prosecuted.
After the massacre in Meikhtila, the corpses rotted for at least two and a half days before the government sent workers to haul them away, some on garbage trucks. The remains were taken to Meikhtila’s main cemetery, where they were simply burned again in an open patch of red dirt with used car tires and gasoline and left for stray dogs to pick through.
Authorities say they did not hand the bodies back to the relatives of the dead because they were too badly burned to be identified. But families of those slain say they were never even asked, and never given the chance to bury their loved ones according to Islamic rites.
No Muslim families have dared visit the cemetery or return to the massacre site.
The mood in the neighborhood is still hostile to outsiders. When AP journalists visited the area, residents stared silently.
One barefoot woman washing clothes beside a well where a pile of charred corpses were dumped claimed she had no idea what happened that day, because she wasn’t there.
Her friend looked up and said: ‘‘Tell him what started it. Tell him about the gold shop, the monk who was killed.’’
Ma Myint shook her head, squinting up briefly in the direction of the hilltop.
Those bones ‘‘mean nothing to me,’’ she said.
The school’s headmaster pulls out a single sheet of blue-lined paper from his pocket. On it, handwritten, are the names and ages and hometowns of the dead.
What bothers him the most isn’t the decision he made to take his students into the Wat Hlan Taw, or the nightmares he has had since. It’s that those who were slaughtered could have been saved.
Most of those beaten to the ground did not die immediately, he says.
‘‘Had anybody stepped in to help them even then, to push back the mobs, to pick them up and take them to the hospital — they could have lived,’’ he says.
He has told many of the 90 students who survived to lie low and not testify for fear of reprisal. He dreams of gathering them together again and rebuilding his school elsewhere, but he is too afraid of sectarian violence flaring anew to say where or when.
‘‘Where is safe in this Myanmar?’’ he says. ‘‘Who will protect us?’’
On March 21, the headmaster urged his students not to fight back.
‘‘Next time, we will defend ourselves,’’ he says quietly, ‘‘because we know that nobody else will.’’