Matua matriarch Binapani Devi passes away at 100, last rites to be held in West Bengal today

Baro Ma

Binapani Devi, 100, was on ventilator support at the SSKM Hospital here since Sunday and breathed her last at 8.52 pm.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condoled the death of the matriarch of the Matuas, a scheduled caste community and significant political force in the state.

Boro Ma was suffering from high fever, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and mild diabetes, the official said.

“She was in an ‘extremely critical’ condition, since last night. Her fever turned to pneumonia. Her lungs were infected. We tried our level best. Age was definitely a factor,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Tuesday condoled the death of Binapani Devi, considered a significant political force in the state. Modi had met Boro Ma this February during his visit to Thakurnagar, where he had addressed a rally.

Matua votes were considered a major factor in the Trinamool Congress’ win in the 2011 and 2016 Assembly polls.

Mamata Bala Thakur, a member of Boro Ma’s family, is a Trinamool Congress MP.

Thakurnagar is the headquarters of the Matua Mahasangh, the organisation of the the community.

In a tweet, Modi said, “Boro Ma Binapani Thakur was an icon of our times. A source of great strength and inspiration for several people, Boro Ma’s rich ideals will continue to influence generations. Her emphasis on social justice and harmony will never be forgotten.”

“I will always cherish the interaction I had with her. We stand in solidarity with the Matua community in this hour of sadness,” he said on the micro-blogging site.

Modi also posted a photograph of his meeting with Boro Ma.

The Matuas originally hail from erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, and began migrating to West Bengal at the beginning of the 1950s, mostly due to religious persecution.

With an estimated population of 30 lakh in the state, Matuas can influence results in at least five Lok Sabha seats in North and South 24 Parganas districts.

However, many of them are claimed to have still not got Indian citizenship.

In a statement, West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi expressed his deep grief at the demise of Boro Ma and extended his heart-felt condolences to her family members and large number of followers.