The winner of a major Sri Lankan beauty prize has suffered head injuries after a tussle on stage.
Beauty queen Pushpika De Silva won the ‘Mrs Sri Lanka’ title at a ceremony on Sunday. Moments after the crown was placed on her head, the 2019 winner seized Mrs De Silva’s crown, claiming she could not be awarded the title because she was divorced.
Though the judges had announced Ms De Silva the 2021 winner at the final in a theatre in Colombo, the 2019 winner, Caroline Jurie, stripped Mrs De Silva of her crown, citing a pageant rule that competitors must be married and not divorced.
“There is a rule that you have to be married and not divorced, so I am taking my first steps in saying that the crown goes to the first runner-up,” Mrs Jurie told the audience while taking off Mrs De Silva’s crown.
She then placed the crown on the runner-up, prompting a tearful Mrs De Silva to walk off stage. The video of the incident has gone viral on social media.
The organisers later apologised to Mrs De Silva, after they confirmed that she was only separated and not divorced and returned the prize to her.
Meanwhile, Mrs De Silva, in Facebook post, said that she had to go to a hospital to be treated for head injuries after the incident.
The pageant winner said that she would take legal action for the “unreasonable and insulting” way she was treated.
“There are a lot of single mums like me today who are suffering in Sri Lanka,” said Mrs De Silva, addressing a press conference. “This crown is dedicated to those women, those single mums who are suffering to raise their kids alone.”
According to a report, the national director of Mrs Sri Lanka World, Chandimal Jayasinghe, has said that the crown would be returned to Mrs De Silva on Tuesday.
“We are disappointed,” he said, adding: “It was a disgrace how Caroline Jurie behaved on the stage and the Mrs World organisation has already begun an investigation on the matter.”
Police have questioned Mrs Jurie, who is the current holder of the ‘Mrs World’ title, as well as Mr Jayasinghe, about the incident.
The Mrs Sri Lanka World beauty pageant is a major contest in the country. The prime minister’s wife was among the guests at the ceremony.