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A beauty pageant winner says she suffered injuries after her crown was forcefully removed from her head.
Pushpika De Silva was crowned Mrs. Sri Lanka on Sunday. Moments later, the 2019 winner and current Mrs. World Caroline Jurie said De Silva was divorced and therefore ineligible to win.
A video of the ceremony, held at Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre in Colombo, shows Jurie taking De Silva’s crown and placing it on the head of the runner up.
“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,” Jurie said in the video.
The pageant’s rules state that contestants must be married and above the age of 18.
Writing in a Facebook post after the ceremony, De Silva said her son noticed that her head was injured.
“The pain of my skull when my crown was snatched from my head by the world married beauty queen, the pain I felt when I lost the crown is more than both. ‘… Mother’s head is injured right..? Does it hurt mom?’ I can’t bear the pain I feel when my son listens,” she wrote.
De Silva added that she is not divorced: “If I was a divorceé, I would dare them to submit my divorce script.”
The national director of Mrs. Sri Lanka World, Chandimal Jayasinghe, has said the crown would be returned to De Silva. He added that she was always eligible to win because while she is separated from her husband, she is not yet divorced.
“Only an individual who is legally divorced will not be allowed to compete in the pageant. Pushpika may be in the process of a divorce, however, until a legal judgment is given on the matter, she is still considered a married woman, therefore we cannot comment any further on the matter,” Jayasinghe told Ceylon Today.
“We are disappointed,” he told BBC News. “It was a disgrace how Caroline Jurie behaved on the stage and the Mrs. World organization has already begun an investigation on the matter.”
“There are a lot of single moms 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,” De Silva reportedly said in a press conference after the ceremony.
“I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you who supported me,” De Silva wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. “I don’t hate anyone and I’ve forgiven those who did that to me at the same moment. Nothing can be won by hate.”
Jurie has remained silent, however sources close to the beauty queen told the Colombo Gazette that she is expected to hold a press conference on Thursday to tell her side of the story.
De Silva, Jurie, and Jayasinghe did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.