Aizawl: Zionnghaka aka Ziona, the 77-year-old man who headed the world’s largest family in Mizoram, has been declared “finally dead” by family members on Monday night — 30 hours after doctors confirmed him dead.

Zaitinkhuma, secretary of Lalpa Kohhran thar, the religious sect which Ziona had headed, said in a statement that the “leader of Chhuanthar” had finally breathed his last at 9 pm on Monday.

“Our leader Ziona has finally died. His pulse stopped beating and body become cold. He left us for his eternal abode at 9 pm on Monday,” he said in the statement.

His funeral is yet to be decided, Zaitinkhuma added.

Meanwhile, Chhuanthar Tlangnuam village council president Ramzauva said that the funeral will be held under strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols.

“No outsiders, including the media are allowed to attend the funeral. Camera is strictly prohibited and even the leader’s family and members of the sect are not allowed to use camera during his funeral,” he said.

He said that the date and time for the last rites of Ziona will be made public soon.

Earlier on Monday, the last rites of Ziona was delayed as his family members did not convince with his death claiming that his body was warm and pulse still beating.

The patriarch head was declared dead at Trinity Hospital in Aizawl at 3 pm on Sunday due to complications related to diabetes, hypertension and old-age.

However, family claimed that the leader regained pulse beat when he was brought to his residence at Chhuanthar Tlangnuam on Sunday evening.

Ziona is survived by 39 wives and over 90 children.

More than 180 people live in his four-storey mansion located at Baktawng village in Serchhip district about 60 km from Aizawl.

After the death of his father Chana in 1997, Ziona headed the religious sect founded his by uncle around 79 years ago.

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The religious sect was referred by the locals as “Chana Pawl” (Chana’s sect or group), while the sect members referred it as “Lalpa Kohhran thar” (New church of God). It is more or less a millennial denomination as it believes in millenarianism.

The religious head is given high respect and treated him almost equal to God. The sect allowed its male members to be polygamous.

Their community is called “Lalruat Chhuanthar” or Chhuanthar (new generation established by God). Chhuanthar is sometimes used as to refer to the religious sect.

Though their settlement area is part of Baktawng village in Serchhip district, the Chhuanthar community were given separate village council administration in 2004 and their village is named Chhuanthar Tlangnuam, which is officially recognised by the state government.

Ziona’s eldest son Nunparliana, who in his 50s, is believed to be the next heir to the throne.

He has already married two wives.

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