Thursday, September 20, 2007

a salutary lesson on life

I was assaulted on Saturday, hospitalized on Sunday, went to the hearing for resolution on Monday, and the subject handed over responsibility on Tuesday and vacated the premises on Wednesday.

In my capacity as an unpaid director of an organic plantation, Paradise Farm,Kitulgala,I was told the superintendent had refused to accept his letter of interdiction on Saturday morning September 15th, signed by the chairman and delivered by the person assigned to take over temporarily. I called a lawyer friend of mine and picked him up in my bone shaker Tata cab from Colombo, but by the time we reached the Kitulgala Rest House it was 9pm. I met with 4 people who had been sent by the chairman and decided to go to the Farm to stay the night at the Tourist Bungalow at the farm. On arrival seeing the gates locked I walked up to the manager's bungalow and met him and requested that I stay at the rooms above the bungalow, but the manager and about 6 goons, who I suspect were all under the influence of alcohol, assaulted me and chased me down to the gate hurling all kinds of abuse. I had never expected the man who I had known as a civilized person of behaving like this.

I reported the incident to the Yatiyantota police, where only one person was on duty as the rest had to go for presidential security, as there was a rally in Kegalle the next day. I obtained a Medico legal form for my injuries and went to the Karawenalla Hospital by 2am where I was promptly seen by a doctor and admitted to ward 6.I gave Amila by wallet and got a sarong and a polo shirt to wear and only had my mobile phone with me. The ward sister on duty at that time told me to find somewhere to lie down. It was only the floor available to me as all other, beds and benches were occupied. I took off my 20yr old Italian Bally shoes, and folded my 10yr old English Aquascutum polo shirt ten times so I could make an improvised pillow and and fell asleep around three on the floor with lights full above me as it was a verandah.

I had to be up by 6 as the floor was being swept and a doctor saw me at 8 and another at 10 who said the JMO(judicial medical officer) only could give me the discharge, as he had to complete the medico legal. With no JMO expected on Sunday. I did not fancy another day on the floor, and my left leg was in pain (twisted muscle) and the floor would only have made it worse. So I discharged myself and returned with the lawyer.

We went the next day for a meeting at the police station, where we decided not to mention the assault, but stood by the original request which the officer presiding said was perfectly reasonable, and under threat of arrest over the other incident,the manager who at first resisted, agreed to hand over power on the morrow.

I expect to go to the farm today to stay in the bungalow tonight. My pain in my leg has not gone away. Have not been able to find a walking stick to use so the estate labor all 90 who signed a petition in favor of the suspended manager, can be aware of who they were supporting.

I realize now going at night unannounced, was a case of bad judgement.In Sri Lanka, 25% of the male population is under the influence after 8 and one cannot see reason with such a person, and those have told me a knife or other object could easily have been used in the assault, resulting in deadly consequences, even though I came in peace.

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