WHEN A WEDDING RECEPTION ALTERS INTO AN INFIRMARY !
Posted on March 29th, 2011

By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ On Madin full moon morning when thoughts were tranquil and unruffled I received an email from Daya Ananda Ranasinghe, publisher and editor of Lanka Viththi, ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ first Sinhala ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ newspaper ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ published in London, highlightingƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ an appalling ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ incident that had taken place at Hotel Kandyan Arts Residency, Kandy, on 17th January 2011, where 98 out of 100 guests who attended the wedding reception of Thushari Rathnasekera and J.M.P.Jayasundara hosted by Virajika Mularachchi. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Since Daya could not vouch for the authenticity of the incident I took the liberty of contacting Kamal Deepthi Mularachchi (VirajikaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s husband) direct by email who immediately responded at lightning speed confirming the incident and taking ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”full responsibility and authenticity of his original e-mail forwarded to the Chairman, Ceylon Tourist Board and to a gamut of friends by mail shot highlighting the issue.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Kamal Deepthi Mularachchi, who could not attend the ceremony butƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”spentƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  three tormenting daysƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  after hearing of ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ the unpleasant incident, ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ is seeking assistance throughƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  an open appeal ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ to buttressƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  his claim to ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ expose the horrific misdemeanor andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  slapdash attitude of ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Kandyan Arts Residency Management.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ His declaration revolves on an acute food poisoning, including the bride and groom, after the ceremonial lunch served by Hotel Kandyan Arts Residence which resulted in medical treatment ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ for queasiness and diarrhoea. ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Inconsolable affairƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ he emphasies, ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ that the newly married coupleƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s arranged plans also ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ had to be ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ disrupted ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ afterƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  8 stop-overs during the journey from ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Kandy to Colombo, ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ consequently having to postpone the honeymoon ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ by five more days until the ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ couple made a full recovery.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ In a dramatic account of the wedding reception that turned into an infirmary, Kamal Deepthi Mularachchi states his 70 year old mother ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ escaped death only ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ after five days of continuous medical treatment. ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Dr. Saman MeetiyagodaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s mother-in-law and lawyer Janaka ThumbowilaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s mother ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ were also seriously illƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Out of the children who were affected, an asthmatic youngster had been fatally ill. The groomƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s relations who arrived from Badulla had been suffering throughout their 6 hour return journey home after the ceremonyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, he adds.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The followingƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ victims have no objection to their names being publicised, while all the others have vouched to come forward as witnesses to confirm the catastropheƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, says Kamal Deepthi Mularachchi , in an email to me.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Consented Victims:

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Dr. Darshana de Silva – VOG Gampola Hospital.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Dr. Saman Meetiyagoda, Kandy hospital.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Dr. Jagath Samarakoon, Matale hospital.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Dr. Alexandra Somasundara, Matale hospital.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Dr. Chalinda Beneragama, Faculty of Agriculture.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Engineer Sugandaraj Somasundar, Faculty of Engineering,

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Engineer Menaka Thumbiwila.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Engineer Indrawansha Rajapakse, Director Deerga Engineering.
ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Lawyer Janaka Thumbowila, Matale District Courts.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ M.G.Piyadasa, Proprietor MGP Motors at MahayyawaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The most deplorable aspect appears to be the cold stance taken by the Management immediately upon bringing to their notice of this tragic drama by not even appearing on the scene to witness or access the cataclysm for themselves.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ This finally had led towards an official complaint on the following day which made the General Manager to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-accept liability and pay compensationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ to the host and towards the mental pain that caused to the attendees of the wedding party.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ However, according toƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Kamal Mularachchi, ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ in a dramatic turnaround after ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ two months , on March 11th, ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ the Manager had ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ withdrawn ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ his commitment and informed Mrs. Virajika Mularachchi in a haughty tenor ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…” do whatever she could , ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ which ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ naturally has ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ taken MularachchisƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ by surprise .

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-This is the situation in Sri Lankan hotel industry. I can imagine the destruction that can cause to the tourist industry by instances of this nature at a time Sri Lanka is doing her utmost to woo foreign touristsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-proclaims Mularachchi.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Kamal Mularachchi., who is still based in Dubai, ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ wishes to make ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ known to the public at large that he has ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ highlighted only few names out of 98 victims of an horrendous incident from a so called a guest establishment.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-I can give their telephone numbers too, but I don’t want to disturb them now, since they have already suffered enough. However, they encouraged me to take some remedial action against the unhygienic standard that prevailed at Hotel Kandyan Arts Residency on 17 January 2011 having paid a tidy sum for the booking. All 98 victims are behind me and have promised to come forward as witnesses, with their medical and expenses records, wherever and whenever necessary. I have additionalƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ witnesses in the form of drivers who transported the sick to hospitals and medical centres for treatment on this day.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚Kamal Mularachchi sounds confident.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Needless to say, it indeed is a tragic drama of an incalculable magnitude, especially at a wedding reception, ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ the damage, inconvenience, embarrassment and the mental and physical suffering attached to ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ it cannot be equated or compensated in monetary terms.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Kamal Mularachchi further adds that ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ he is seeking ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ social justice ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ on food poisoning ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ immediately after consuming ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ food at the ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Hotel ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Kandyan Arts Residency because ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ the General Manager at ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Hotel ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ has not apologised or evenƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ conveyed his sympathies so far, although he ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”has acknowledged ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ that the ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ incident was trueƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ since few of the guests had complained directly to him .

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The writerƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s experience with the alleged establishment to try and obtain their version to be fair and square and objective in focusing the issue, the General ManagerƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s initial response ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ was only to request writerƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s telephone number. However when ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ the writer repeated ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ his request to have their side of the story in black and white, the reply came by email in a single ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ sentenceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ saying it all: ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…- Since everything is handled by company lawyers, we areƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ not supposed to do soƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ . .

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ tilakfernando@yahoo.co.uk

In the interest of public hygiene, for the protection of the tourist industry and for the sake of those 98 victims who had to undergo ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ immense suffering, inconvenience and metal torture, should not this become food for thought for the Ministry of Health to intervene in a responsible and effective manner?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ tilakfernando@yahoo.co.uk

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