Family of Mizoram's Ziona claims he's still alive, refuses to perform last rites
The family of Zionghaka aka Zion-a, the patriarch of what is believed to be the world’s largest family, has refused to perform his last rites claiming he is "still very much alive". Zion-a, who was suffering from hypertension and diabetes, was on Sunday declared dead by doctors at Trinity hospital in Aizawl.
The family members, however, insisted that his body was warm and his pulse still beating.
The 76-year-old, who lived in a sprawling four-storey home in Baktawng village with 39 wives, over 90 children and at least 33 grandchildren, headed a religious sect Lalpa Kohhran thar.
The sect's secretary Zaitinkhuma claimed that Zion-a regained pulse beat after he was brought home from the hospital.
"His (Zion-a) body is still warm. His family members and people of Chhuanthar in Baktawng village can't bury him under such circumstances," he said on Monday.
Zion-a, was the head of Chana pawl, a minor Christian sect formed in 1942 in Mizoram by his father. The sect follows the practice of polygamy. Born in 1945, Zion-a married his first wife, who was three years older to him, at the age of 17. He married his last wife in 2004.
"All of them hold the septuagenarian in high regard, and would not want to perform his last rites until they are convinced that he is gone," Chhuanthar village council president Ramzuava said. He added that more than 2,500 members belonging to 433 families are part of the sect.
Chief Minister Zoramthanga, state congress president Lal Thanhawla and Zoram Peoples Movement (ZPM) leader Lalduhoma among others mourned Zion-a's demise.
His four-storey mansion at Baktawng is a major tourist attraction. His family was featured twice by 'Ripley's Believe it or not' in 2011 and 2013.