Kin claim head of world's largest family still alive, refuse to perform last rites : The Tribune India

Kin claim head of world's largest family still alive, refuse to perform last rites

Kin claim head of world's largest family still alive, refuse to perform last rites

Ziona, 67, poses for a picture at the construction site of a church in Baktawng village in the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram October 5, 2011. Reuters



Aizawl, June 14

It has been over 36 hours since   Zionghaka aka Zion-a, the patriarch of what is believed to be the world's largest family, breathed his last in Mizoram, but his loved ones are not ready to bid him one final goodbye, claiming that he was "still very much alive".

The 76-year-old, who lives 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 -- which allows polygamy for men.

Zion-a, who was suffering from hypertension and diabetes, was on Sunday declared dead by doctors at Trinity hospital in Aizawl. Family members, however, insisted that his body was warm and his pulse still beating.

A view of Zionas 4 storey house in Baktawng village in the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram, October 6, 2011.  Reuters file photo

Zaitinkhuma, the secretary of Lalpa Kohhran thar, said 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.

According to Chhuanthar village council president Ramzuava, over 2,500 members belonging to 433 families form part of the sect, which was founded by the Zion-a's uncle around 70 years ago. Most members of the sect practise carpentry for a living.