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
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.
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.