The winner of a major beauty pageant in Sri Lanka said she suffered head injuries when her crown was removed amid claims she should not have won because she is divorced.
Pushpika De Silva, 31, was revealed as the 2021 ‘Mrs Sri Lanka’, a prestigious contest for married women, during a ceremony at Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre in Colombo at the weekend.
But within moments of being crowned, the headpiece was snatched back when last year’s winner and current Mrs World, Caroline Jurie, announced she could not keep the prize.
Astonishing footage shows Mrs Jurie, 28, separating bits of Mrs De Silva’s hair from the crown and pulling it off before the latter leaves the stage in tears as it is bestowed on the runner-up.
Mrs Jurie told the audience: ‘There is a rule that you all have to be married and not divorced. The crown goes to the first runner-up.’
The organisers have apologised to Mrs De Silva, who says she is separated but not divorced.
She later claimed on Facebook that she went to hospital to be treated for head injuries caused when the crown was removed, according to the BBC.
Mrs De Silva reportedly said she would take legal action over the ‘unreasonable and insulting’ treatment she received.
Speaking at a press conference, she said: ‘There are a lot of 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.’
According to reports in Sri Lanka, the title will now be handed back to her.
The national director of Mrs Sri Lanka World, Chandimal Jayasinghe, said the winner was decided by the organising committee along with judges and the incident should never have happened, according to the online Colombo Page newspaper.
Both he and Mrs Jurie, who holds the ‘Mrs World’ title, have been quizzed by police over it, the BBC says.
The Mrs Sri Lanka World beauty pageant is a major contest in the country, with the prime minister’s wife among the guests watching the ceremony.