Influential Matua Leader Demands Probe Into Matriarch’s Death

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Kolkata: A day after Dalit Matua community matriarch Binapani Devi passed away, her youngest grandson and All India Matua Mahasangha leader Shantanu Thakur on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding a high-level inquiry into her death.

Binapani Devi, famously known as Boroma, died last evening following multi-organ failure at the state-run SSKM Hospital in Kolkata. She will be cremated at the Matua Mahasangha headquarters known as ‘Thakurbari’ in North 24 Parganas district’s Thakurnagar on Thursday.

Considered Bengal’s second most influential Scheduled Caste community comprising primarily low-caste Hindu refugees from Bangladesh, the Matua Mahasangha has over one crore members spread across various southern Bengal districts, especially North 24 Parganas.

“I have written to Prime Minister Modi requesting him to conduct a high-level inquiry into Boroma’s death. A central medical board should be formed to determine whether her death was natural. If needed, a CBI inquiry should be initiated,” Thakur, leader of the BJP-aligned faction of Matua Mahasangha, told.

He also claimed that he and his elder brother were not informed when their grandmother was taken to the JNM Hospital in Nadia district’s Kalyani and were stopped from entering the hospital.

“We were not allowed to enter the Kalyani JNM Hospital initially. Later we forced our way in. Then she was quickly shifted to SSKM, where suddenly she was declared dead. We are suspicious over the entire episode. It should be probed,” he said.

Admitted to JNM Hospital in Nadia district’s Kalyani on February 28 following shortness of breath and fever, Boroma was shifted to the SSKM on Sunday after her condition deteriorated.

Thakur, the son of Boroma’s younger son and former minister in the Mamata Banerjee government, Manjul Krishna Thakur, was influential in bringing Prime Minister Modi to Thakurnagar and meet Boroma in February this year.

The political alliance of the family now stands divided as Shantanu and his father are currently with BJP while Boroma’s elder daughter-in-law Mamata Bala Thakur is a Lok Sabha MP from Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress.

Boroma was the chief advisor of the Mahasangha.