Kumari affaire takes fiery turn
Suicide drama in Hakeemís compound

by Franklin R. Satyapalan

Doctors were yesterday battling to save the life of Kumari Cooray, who attempted to self-immolate herself in the compound of SLMC Leader Rauf Hakeemís private residence at Kollupitiya junction around 3 a.m., hospital sources said.

A spokesman for the SLMC leader said that Hakeem had been shocked and saddened by the whole incident.

Colombo National Hospitalís Accident Service Director Dr. Anil Jasinghe told The Island that Ms. Cooray had been brought to hospital with severe burns and doctors were doing all they could as she was in a critical condition

Chief Inspector Palitha Siriwardene, OIC of the Kollupitiya police said police were in the process of questioning several persons in this connection.

Ms. Cooray (40), a mother of two, had earlier caused a stir and much intrigue in political circles, at the time of the 2001 parliamentary elections, by linking herself with SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem and later denying the whole affair claiming that it had been instigated by those politically opposed to SLMC leader Hakeem.

She had gone to Hakeemís Kollupitiya residence at around 11 p.m. on Wednesday. But, the security guards and three Ministerial Security Division (MSD) personnel, on official duty, had prevented Ms. Cooray from entering the residence, police said adding that she had then shouted out that she would teach the inmates and the SLMC leader a good lesson and left to return later.

At around 3 a.m. Ms. Cooray had returned in a three wheeler to tussle with the security personnel before jumping over the parapet wall and asking the three wheel driver to hand over a can of petrol. She had then set herself ablaze.

Suicide drama...

Kollupitiya police on receiving information from the residence of the SLMC leader had rushed to the scene and doused the fire before removing the critically burnt Mrs. Cooray to the Colombo National Hospital.

CI Palitha Siriwardena, OIC of Collpetty police, said they were on the look out for the three wheel driver and had recorded the statements of three MSD and security personnel in this connection.

He added that initial investigations had revealed that Mrs. Kumari Cooray had lived at the ĎRoyal Courtí apartments down Pedris Road, Kollupitiya and had a teenage son and daughter of around 16 years of age.




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