The body of the Matua community matriarch, Binapani Devi, was taken to the Matua Mahasangha headquarters known as ‘Thakurbari’ in the Thakurnagar area of North 24 Parganas district on Wednesday where thousands of people offered their respects. The last rites of Binapani Devi will be performed on Thursday. Binapani Devi, popularly referred to as ‘Boroma’, passed away at a city hospital late on Tuesday evening. She was 100. Her younger son, Manjul Krishna Thakur, said that Matuas from all over the country are coming to offer their respects.Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted immediately after her death describing her as an “icon of our times”. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described Binapani Devi’s demise as a “personal loss”. She added that ‘Boroma’ will be accorded a State funeral and given a gun salute.Influential communityMatuas are capable of influencing more than one Lok Sabha seat in the State. The influence of Binapani Devi and the Matua Mahasangha can be gauged by the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi before addressing a rally at Thakurnagar met ‘Boroma’ on February 2, 2019. In December 2018, the State government bestowed on her its highest honour — Bangabibhushan. Matuas are a religious sect of Bangladeshi Dalits who predominantly belong to the Namasudra caste. Boroma’s daughetr-in-law, Mamatabala Thakur, is a Trinamool Congress MP from Bongaon.