Q&A: Communal violence in Burma
Religious and ethnic tensions have bubbled to the surface in Burma three years after military rule ended, with deadly consequences.
In 2012, waves of violence engulfed parts of Rakhine state, leaving nearly 200 dead and thousands displaced.
But after deadly rioting erupted in central Burma in March, it became clear that tensions had spread.
What is the nature of Burma's communal violence?
Over the last year there have been two major sites of communal conflict in Burma.
In 2012 widespread rioting and brutal clashes between Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims, largely thought to be Rohingya Muslims, devastated parts of western Rakhine state.
It was the rape and murder of a young Buddhist woman that May which sparked off the deadly chain of events. Violence escalated as Muslims and Buddhists attacked each other. The confrontations re-ignited in October.
Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims blame each other for the violence which left almost 200 dead and displaced thousands. Many Rohingyas fled and crossed the border with Bangladesh.
In March 2013 central Burma was the site of violence between Buddhists and Muslims, which left more than 40 people dead.
It started at a Muslim-owned gold shop where a Buddhist couple had gone to sell some jewellery.
A dispute over the price escalated into a bigger fight and after a Buddhist monk died as the result of an attack, a sustained mob assault on Muslim areas began.
Entire Muslim neighbourhoods were razed and about 12,000 Muslims are thought to have fled their homes. The rioting also spread to other towns in the area.
How have the authorities handled the unrest?
The authorities have been criticised for failing to act swiftly and assertively enough in both outbreaks of violence.
In response to the violence in Rakhine last June, a state of emergency was eventually declared across the state. This allows the introduction of martial law, which means the military can take over administrative control of the region.
It was the first time that the current government has declared a state of emergency anywhere in Burma and officials were forced to do the same when violence escalated in Meiktila.
Rights groups have also criticised the government for failing to bring anybody to justice in Rakhine.
Almost a year on from the initial outbreak of violence, in April 2013, Human Rights Watch said that although state forces did intervene to protect fleeing Muslims, more often they fuelled unrest either by standing by or taking part in violence.
All their allegations were rejected by the government, with a spokesman saying the group did not understand the situation on the ground.
But in the more recent unrest in central Burma, there is damning video evidence.
The BBC obtained police footage showing officers standing by while Buddhist rioters attacked minority Muslims in the town of Meiktila.
The government has yet to present any long-term proposals to resolve these conflicts.
Are the two outbreaks of violence linked and might it spread?
Burma has a long history of communal mistrust, which was allowed to simmer, and was at times exploited, under military rule.
While there are not thought to be direct links between the two outbreaks of communal unrest, the mistrust felt for decades is out in the open now in the new climate of freedom and appears to be spreading.
Observers say the government is not doing enough to head the violence off and because of this, further conflict is a risk.
It is particularly difficult for journalists to operate in Rakhine state and verify reports. But reports say tensions remain high and many people are yet to return to their homes.
Analysts say the potential for unrest to flare up again or even spread remains.
What is the religious angle to the violence?
In Rakhine state, there have been particularly bitter and long-standing tensions between the Rakhine people, who are Buddhist and make up the majority of the state's population, and Muslims.
Most of these Muslims identify themselves as Rohingya, a group that originated in part of Bengal, now called Bangladesh.
In the towns bordering Bangladesh, where the violence has taken place, the majority of the population is Muslim.
Overseas-based Rohingya rights groups have said that Rohingyas bore the brunt of the violence. Rakhine Buddhists said Rohingyas were mainly to blame for that outbreak.
In central Burma the violence is not thought to involve Rohingya Muslims. Instead members of Burma's other Muslim communities have been affected.
Who are the Rohingyas?
The United Nations describes Rohingya as a religious and linguistic minority from western Burma. It says the Rohingya are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
But even the origins of the word Rohingya, and how they came to be in Burma, are controversial with some historians saying the group dates back centuries and others saying it only emerged as a campaigning force last century.
The Burmese government says they are relatively recent migrants from the Indian sub-continent. As a result, the country's constitution does not include them among indigenous groups qualifying for citizenship.
Historically, the Rakhine majority has resented the presence of Rohingyas, who they view as Muslim people from another country. There is widespread public hostility towards the Rohingya in Burma.
The Rohingyas, on the other hand, feel they are part of Burma and claim persecution by the state. Neighbouring Bangladesh already hosts several hundred thousand refugees from Burma and says it cannot take any more.
What kind of threat does this pose for the Burmese state?
These troubles are being seen as a key test for Burma, which saw a nominally civilian government elected in 2010 after decades of oppressive military rule.
The clashes have raised concerns about the fragility of Burma's democracy. President Thein Sein has previously said that the Rakhine violence puts the country's moves towards democracy in danger.
Burma needs to be seen as a stable state, but it is always going to have to contend with the fact that it is one of Asia's most ethnically diverse countries and people are watching to see how the government handles tensions between its many communities.