The former strongman had been invited to an Arangetram – a debut performance of classical Indian dance and music – to be presented by a daughter of a leading businessman in Kurunegala. Incidentally, the girl is a niece of the former head of the local body in the area as well.
The event was to be held in a convention hall belonging to the Provincial Council and they had no difficulty in booking the hall with an advance payment thanks to their connection to the former local body head. The PC authorities did not know at the time of booking the hall who was to be the chief guest at the ceremony.
The PC chief learnt that the chief guest was to be the former strongman only two or three days ahead of the event. And he went into jitters.
He immediately ordered the booking of the PC-owned hall be cancelled. The businessman and his family members were stunned when they heard about the PC chief’s order for that left them high and dry. The former strongman had accepted the invitation to be the chief guest and the Deputy High Commissioner had agreed not only to attend as the special guest but also to deliver a special talk at the event. And it was too late to change the venue given the pre-publicity given to the event or to book another venue either.
The local body head who heard about the PC chief’s order was furious. He met the PC chief and berated him about the injustice done to his niece. A subdued PC chief told him: “Malli, if our former Lokka attends this event he is sure to attack me during his speech. That’s why I ordered the cancellation of the booking.” He added: “Now that I know you are personally interested in this matter, I’ll call off the cancellation…But, Malli, please tell Lokka not to say anything against me when he addresses the gathering.”