BANGKOK -- Army units restored order on Saturday to a city in central Myanmar devastated by three days of religious rioting and arson attacks.
The state news media revised the death toll upward in a broadcast on Saturday evening, saying that 32 people had died in the violence between Buddhists and Muslims, which destroyed large portions of Muslim neighborhoods in Meiktila.
The deaths, which follow spasms of religious violence in western Myanmar last year, have shaken the country's fragile shift toward greater democracy after decades of military rule. The rioting has also raised the specter of radical Buddhists' undermining the multiethnic fabric of the country.
Myanmar news media showed images of lines of army trucks entering Meiktila on Saturday, following an order on Friday by President Thein Sein to impose a state of emergency on the city and surrounding areas.
News services reported Saturday that charred bodies remained uncollected on the streets of Meiktila, a city not far from the northern commercial capital of Mandalay. About 6,000 Muslim residents of Meiktila were displaced in the violence, and many are gathered at a stadium on the outskirts of the city.
Numerous reports from the area said that most of the places damaged were Muslim neighborhoods, but the breakdown of the dead has not been confirmed. State television said the 21 bodies found on Saturday were too badly charred to be identified.
U Win Naing, a reporter for a newspaper in Meiktila, said by telephone that the actual death toll would probably be significantly higher.
"The searches by security forces are slow," Mr. Win Naing said.
U Tin Maung Than, the secretary general of the Islamic Religious Affairs Council, said Saturday in a telephone interview that he had received reports of 32 deaths in one Muslim school, including 28 teenage students, an assertion that could not be independently confirmed.
Wai Moe contributed from Yangon, Myanmar.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.