Sri Lanka Beauty Pageant Ends in Attack on Winner, Arrests

Former Mrs. Sri Lanka 2019 and current Miss World Caroline Jurie (2L) leaves Cinnamon Gardens Police Station after being released on bail in Colombo on April 8, 2021 following her arrest on charges of assault over an on-stage fracas in which she pulled the crown off the head of the …
LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP via Getty Images

Sri Lankan police arrested the reigning “Mrs. World” on assault charges Thursday after she forcibly removed the crown from the head of the new “Mrs. Sri Lanka” this week.

“Mrs. World” Caroline Jurie took “Mrs. Sri Lanka” Pushpika de Silva’s crown moments after de Silva was declared “Mrs. Sri Lanka 2020” on April 4 at Colombo’s Nelum Pokuna theater. A model attending the pageant, Chula Manamendra, rushed the stage and attempted to assist Jurie (pictured, second from left) as she stripped de Silva of her crown. De Silva sought treatment for head injuries at a local hospital and filed a police complaint against Jurie and Manamendra shortly after the incident.

“We have arrested Jurie and (her associate) Chula Manamendra in connection with a charge of assault and causing damage to Nelum Pokuna (theater),” Colombo Police Spokesman Ajith Rohana told reporters Thursday. Jurie and Manamendra were released on bail on April 8 and have a court hearing scheduled on April 19, the police official said.

De Silva said she told Jurie she would drop the charges against her if Jurie issued a public apology, but the current Mrs. World refused.

“I tried to end this out of court, but she has refused,” De Silva told reporters outside a Colombo police station on April 8. “I can forgive, but not forget.”

“There is a rule that states you have to be married and not divorced, so I am taking steps to make the crown go to the first runner-up,” Jurie told a stunned audience at the Mrs. Sri Lanka pageant on April 4 before snatching de Silva’s crown.

De Silva said this week that she remains legally married despite being estranged from her husband for an undisclosed amount of time.

“I’m not a divorced woman,” De Silva wrote in a statement shared to her Facebook page this week along with a photo of her in a hospital bed.

Organizers of the Mrs. Sri Lanka pageant have stood by de Silva, who was re-crowned “Mrs. Sri Lanka 2020” in a small ceremony on April 6.

The pageant’s local franchise holder in Sri Lanka, Chandimal Jayasinghe, said he was “deeply disturbed and sincerely regret[ed]” Jurie’s behavior on Sunday. Jayasinghe said he planned to claim compensation from Jurie “for damages to the stage and backstage dressing rooms [at Nelum Pokuna theater] where several mirrors had been smashed.”

The chaos caused by Jurie and Manamendra’s crown-snatching forced the Mrs. Sri Lanka 2020 pageant to finish two hours later than scheduled on April 4. Management for Nelum Pokuna theater has cited this as a reason for demanding an additional fee of half a million rupees ($2,500) from the pageant’s organizers, according to Jayasinghe.

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