Raj Punnah, an annual traditional festival of the Bohmong circle, began with frustration and agony in Bandarban town yesterday as local administration didn't give permission this year for holding any fair, an integral part of the festival.
“We are deeply shocked as local administration on Thursday ordered the shopkeepers, who came from different parts of the country to join the festival like every year, not to open their shops and leave the place immediately,” said U Chaw Prue, the 17th king of the dynasty.
“Our communal harmony has been damaged through this cruel decision of the administration,” said the 75-year-old king.
The royal administration of the circle held a conference on February 19 and fixed that this year's fair would begin on March 8.
Some 250 businessmen from different regions of the country came to Bandarban to set up their stalls and most of them returned on Thursday, incurring a big loss.
Contacted, Md Shahidul Islam, officer-in-charge of Bandarban Sadar Police Station, said, “We have been directed to stop the fair for the upcoming upazila election.”
Raj Punnah is an annual revenue collection programme where the Bohmong circle chief collects taxes from headmen (mouza chief) and karbaris (village chief).
Every year tourists from home and abroad come to celebrate the traditional festival Raj Punnah.
Agriculture Minister Md Abdur Razzaque was present as chief guest of the three-day-long programme.
The chief guest also expressed disappointment in his speech.
Royal family sources said the Bohmong dynasty has been celebrating the festival in Bandarban since 1875.