By SM .08 Apr, 2021
COLOMBO: Colombo police on Thursday arrested the current "Mrs World" Caroline Jurie on charges of assault over an on-stage fracas in which she pulled the crown off the head of the new "Mrs Sri Lanka" Pushpika de Silva.
Caroline Jurie yanked the crown off Pushpika de Silva minutes after she was declared "Mrs Sri Lanka 2020" in a Sunday gala at Colombo"s Nelum Pokuna theatre.
The savage pair of sore losers who snatched the crown from the Mrs Sri Lanka winner has been arrested after allegedly causing her head injuries during the kerfuffle.
Reigning Mrs World Caroline Jurie, 28, and former model Chula Manamendra stole the crown from Pushpika De Silva, 31, during the dramatic on-stage beauty queen bust-up that was broadcast on national TV on Sunday.
Instead of former winner Jurie placing the diadem on De Silva’s head, she yanked it off, declaring she was not worthy of the title as she was divorced.
Instead of being allowed to relish in her victory, De Silva’s special moment was ruined as Jurie told the crowd: “There is a rule that prevents women who have already been married and are divorced, so I am taking steps to make the crown go to second place”.
The tearful rightful winner fled from the stage as the crown was dragged from her head and given to the runner-up by Jurie and Padmendra.
De Silva maintained she was “an un-divorced woman” and after pageant organizers confirmed that she is separated, not divorced, the crown was returned to her.
Jurie was the previous year"s "Mrs Sri Lanka" and had gone on to win the "Mrs World" competition organized by a California-based company.
De Silva needed hospital treatment after the incident, seen by stunned spectators in a packed venue as well as a live social media audience.
"We have arrested Jurie and (her associate) Chula Manamendra in connection with a charge of assault and causing damage to Nelum Pokuna (theatre)," senior police official Ajith Rohana said.
De Silva told reporters outside a police station in Colombo Thursday that she was ready to drop the charges if Jurie made a public apology, but she had refused.
"I tried to end this out of court, but she has refused," de Silva said. "I can forgive, but not forget."
Police said a court hearing was fixed for April 19 and Jurie and her associate who crashed the stage on Sunday were released on bail Thursday.
Neither of them nor their lawyers spoke to reporters outside the police station.
Towards the end of Sunday"s ceremony, Jurie had claimed that de Silva was divorced and therefore ineligible for the prize. Her surprise announcement sparked unruly scenes minutes after the chief guest, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa"s wife Shiranthi, had left the theatre.
To qualify for the title, contestants must be married. De Silva is estranged from her husband, but they are still legally married.
The local franchise holder for the pageant, Chandimal Jayasinghe, said they were "deeply disturbed and sincerely regret" the behaviour of Jurie.
Jayasinghe said they were claiming compensation from Jurie for damages to the stage and backstage dressing rooms where several mirrors had been smashed.
The rumpus also meant the event dragged on two hours longer and theatre management demanded an additional fee of half a million rupees ($2,500), Jayasinghe added.
Jurie has also been accused by organizers of bringing disrepute to the event.
Pushpika de Silva revealed in a Facebook post that she had sought treatment for head injuries and intended to launch legal action for the “injustice and insult”, that unfolded among a crowd of spectators, including the prime minister’s wife.
Participants in the pageant are required to be married to enter, to which De Silva responded: “Living separately and being divorced are two completely separate things.”
Although estranged, she is still legally married to her husband.
De Silva admirably defended her win and dedicated it to the “single mums like me today who are suffering in Sri Lanka.
“This crown is dedicated to those women, those single mums who are suffering to raise their kids alone,” she said.
After reporting to the police station to provide statements on the chaotic crowning ceremony, the duo was arrested “on charges of simple hurt and criminal cause,” police spokesman Ajith Rohana told the BBC.
They were bailed and are scheduled to appear in Colombo Magistrates Court on April 19.
The chief organizer of the Mrs Sri Lanka pageant, Chandimal Jayasinghe, was also questioned by police regarding the incident.
Social media calls have been mounting to strip Jurie of her "Mrs World" title, with one meme calling for her to be rebranded as "Mrs Under World".