Selma doctor stayed in same hotel targeted in Sri Lanka attacks, just weeks prior


Pictures showing memories of trips, time spent with loved ones in the country of Sri Lanka. 

Selma Doctor Ganga Hematillake, his wife, and family friends seen here, in both the Kingsbury hotel and Cinnamon Grand hotel. 

Both hotels targeted in terror attacks, Easter Sunday.

“We ate breakfast in the same breakfast place the blast happened,” Hematillake said. “Both of us will go at 8:45 a.m. for breakfast, and 8:45 was the time that the detonation happened, I was told.”

Hematillake and his wife took their trip early April. 

They were bringing their mother-in-law, who’d been staying with them, back home.

The couple thought about taking the trip this past week, and would’ve, if it weren’t for the timing of their oldest daughter’s college spring break.

“And she agreed to come and take care of our other kids, so we decided to go early,” Hematillake said.

Hematillake grew up in Sri Lanka. He’s visited St. Anthony’s church many times with friends.

He also says, the country’s seen its share of violence, during a long civil war, which ended in 2009.

“It really, you know, brings home how unpredictable the life is,” Hematillake said.

After the attacks, Facebook has been shutdown.

“Almost every social media outlet, we can’t even call them using What’s App or Facebook Messenger.”

Hematillake knows many affected, even his mother-in-law has ties.

“Her nursing home is in the town, where the second church was attacked,” Hematillake said. “Same town, Negombo, where hundreds of worshippers were killed.”

Now, the return of violence in places he knows so well, almost unbelievable.

“I wish that they could take swift action and catch all the remaining parts of that terrorist organization and kind of exterminate that.”

Hematillake says the island country depends on tourism. He hopes the country can bring back the confidence of toursists after the attacks.

Reporting in Fresno, Megan Rupe.

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