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West Bengal: Matua matriarch 'Boro Ma' Binapani Devi passes away; PM, CM pay their respects

Mar 5 (AZINS) Matua matriarch Binapani Devi popularly known as ‘Boro Ma’ breathed her last at 8.52pm on Tuesday at the state-run SSKM Medical College and Hospital in South Kolkata.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached the SSKM hospital and announced her demise.

“She breathed her last at 8.52pm. Doctors tried their best but could not retrieve her. Boro Ma’s body will be taken out at 8am tomorrow. Her funeral will be held with full state honours and a gun salute will be given to her,” said Banerjee.

She added, “It is a major loss for us and for the Matua community. Her daughter Mamata Bala Thakur was next to Boro Ma at all times. It is extremely painful for her. We sympathise with the followers of Boro Ma.”

Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister had visited her at the SSKM after her health deteriorated on Tuesday afternoon.

“I have known Boro Ma for the last two years. We have always stood by her. Some people are now trying to come close because of political reasons,” added Banerjee.

Binapani Devi was put on ventilation support on Tuesday morning after her health further deteriorated and her condition got extremely critical.  

Devi was shifted to the SSKM hospital from a local hospital in Kalyani in Nadia district after she reported fever and breathlessness. Due to acute infection to her lungs, she was referred to this hospital in Kolkata. According to doctors at the SSKM hospital, she was suffering from pneumonia and multi organ failure.

Her last rites will be held at Thakurnagar.

The Matua community took the political centre stage after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Thakurnagar and ‘Boro Ma’ eyeing Matua votes in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls last month.

Thakurnagar is a village inhabited by the Matua community who settled from Bangladesh, the erstwhile East Pakistan after a religious reformation movement led by the late Harichand Thakur. Thakurnagar falls under the Bongaon constituency, housing more than 60% Matua voters.

This vote bank was instrumental in making Mamata Banerjee win during the 2011 assembly polls and bringing her into power.