Beauty queen Pushpika De Silva, 31, was awarded the 2020/2021 Mrs World title during a televised ceremony at Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre, Colombo, on Sunday, April 4.
Just moments after being announced as the winner of the pageant only meant for married women, Pushpika faced humiliation as last year’s winner and current Mrs.World, Caroline Jurie, took the microphone and announced that the first runner-up should take the title instead.
“There is a rule that you all have to be married and not divorced,” Jurie told the audience.
“The crown goes to the first runner-up.”
The crown was then forcibly removed from a tearful De Silva, who walked off stage in shame, and then handed to another contestant who came second.
The prize has since been returned to Ms De Silva after the event organisers confirmed that she is not a divorcee.
De Silva broke her silence a day after the ceremony in a Facebook post where she revealed she sustained injuries during the incident, while addressing the divorce claim.
“As I write this, I responsibly say that I am not a divorced woman. If I am divorced, I challenge them to submit my divorce papers,” she wrote in a statement translated from Sinhala.
“Even though the symbolic crown has been snatched from my head, I would like to inform you that I have already taken the necessary legal action for the injustice and insult that has taken place.”
She added: “A real queen is not a woman who snatches another woman’s crown, but a woman who secretly sets the other woman’s crown!”
The Mrs World organisation also issued a statement, stating they were “deeply disturbed” by the behaviour.
“We are deeply disturbed and sincerely regret the behaviour of our current titleholder, Mrs. Caroline Jurie, Mrs. World 2020, at the crowning. Her actions go against the Mrs. Sri Lanka code of conduct and the predetermined regulations she is obliged to follow during her reign,” the statement reads.
“We will review the aforementioned incident and we’ll be taking steps, as deemed appropriate, based on the outcome of our assessment.”
Police have now confirmed that Jurie and another model involved in the on-stage fracas have been arrested.
‘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 the Cinnamon Gardens police station in Colombo