The Sunday Leader

A Twist Of Fate?

  • Deaths In Kotahena

by Ashanthi Warunasuriya

Initial investigation being carried out

We can never be certain of what would happen next. It only takes a second to get changed the life’s course. So philosophers say that life is a dewdrop on a leaf because we can never guess how it ends.

The lives of Vasudeva Shiwa Kumar and his children too confirmed this fact the other day very well. Vasu had come to Colombo to settle down with his wife amidst countless challenges and obstacles. Vasu had started doing some businesses and settled down in Kotahena for the convenience of doing his trades.

As the time goes by, the couple experienced severe problems. The severe economic condition of the family had made their lives difficult. Therefore, Vasu started selling mobile phones as well. Initially he imported them and given them to sellers in Pettah. As most of the people do, he too had taken a loan to start this business.

In this way, gradually he was able to pay back the loan. Moreover, he was able to do more businesses with his own money thus showing signs of success. He succeeded in solving many household problems with his increasing income.

Eventually, the happy couple was blessed with two children, a boy and a girl. The daughter, Shivakumar Kadirshan, was the first. She was 12 years old. The son, Naveendran Shivakumar was only 9 years old. Both have shown talent for studying.

They lived in a rented apartment in a condominium in Vasala Mavatha, Kotahena. Many call it St. Benedict Road. The houses in the area are so closely located that there is no space between them. But for their residents, these houses are castles.


Well-known family

The couple was well known in the neighbourhood for their strong attachment to each other. They have not had any quarrel between them.

Their house too was good-looking with walls painted with rose and white. They could never think of the terrible fate that awaited them in that house when they first came to this place.

But their fate had other plans for them. And without a single bad omen, it struck.

It was August 19. The little boy was preparing to sit for the Grade 5 Scholarship Exam to be held on August 21. And the 19th, Shiwakumar’s wife got ready to go to her son’s school for a parents’ meeting. Leaving her children at home, she went to the school in the morning.

Upon her return, as she entered the house, she saw a green grocery bag with a packet of biscuit lying on the table. There were also signs of some other food items that the father and children supposedly had eaten.

Around 10am on the day, the lady living next door had heard a noise from Vasu’s house. When she had gone there to check out, she found the unconscious trio on the floor of the living room. Quickly, the neighbours had taken them to the hospital.

“I heard a noise. When I went there to check out, I saw Vasu and his two children lying on the ground. We quickly took them to the hospital. I first thought they had consumed poison. But as far as we know, they did not have any serious problem,” the lady said. The neighbours had informed the police about their suspicion that the trio may have consumed poison.

The police had initiated the investigations. Meanwhile, on admission, Vasu and his kids had breathed their last. The last rites were held according to their customs.



The couple had rented out this apartment for one year. According to the neighbours, they were not troublemakers. What could have caused them to consume poison, no one knows to date. Speaking about his departed friend, a resident said, “He was a good husband and a loving father.

“He always looked after his family even though he was busy with businesses. He had financial problems, but he had enough to cover day to day issues.” Hence it has become a mystery to everyone what had happened to this family.

The initial investigations into the deaths were conducted by the Hulsfdorf additional magistrate Nishantha Peiris. According to medical reports, the trio had died after being admitted to the hospital.

Initial investigation had found some food and beverages near the crime scene. Some have speculated that this was a suicide. However, the police media unit has stated that a food poisoning may have been the cause of the deaths. The body parts have been sent to the government analyst for further investigations.

As the preliminary investigations have uncovered, Vasudeva had purchased certain food items from a food stall. However, the nearby area has no food stalls that sell food items found at the crime scene. Hence the deaths still remain a mystery.

In Sri Lanka, suicides have become a serious social issue. Many people end their lives by hanging, consuming poison and numerous other ways. The relevant statistics show that at least 5000 commit suicides in the country annually. According to the statistics of the Registrar General’s Office, in 1948, the number of suicides had been 9 for every 100,000 people.

In the 70s, the number increased to 19. At present, it has surpassed 33 for 100,000 people.

So far we do not know whether Vasu’s death is a suicide or a homicide. The father and the two children all have now departed from this world leaving a grieving mother behind. The sorrow of their departure is undoubtedly going to haunt her for the rest of her life.


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