ECONOMYNEXT – A high-profile beauty pageant for Sri Lanka’s married women ended in disaster as the winner was unceremoniously de-crowned by her predecessor in front of a live audience, police said Monday.
The “Mrs. Sri Lanka 2021” contest at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa theatre became a farce after the declared winner, Pushpika de Silva, was forced out within minutes by her immediate predecessor Caroline Jurie.
Jurie said that de Silva was disqualified because she was divorced, a claim that is denied by the original winner who minutes earlier had been crowned by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s wife Shiranthi.
Police said de Silva lodged a complaint Monday against Jurie and another woman identified as Chula Manamendra who forced the crown away from her and placed it on the runner up during the Sunday evening gala.
UPDATES ON THIS STORY: Sri Lanka arrests Mrs World over battle of beauties
The ceremony was not open to the media, but a video of the event was widely shared on social media Monday with many criticising both the organisers and Jurie, the current reigning Mrs. World for the brawl of beauties.
“If Mrs. World stands for demeaning other women by the reigning Mrs. World, then we no longer need men to put down women, because women do it better,” said Sri Lankan woman journalist Munza Mushtaq said in a twitter.com message. “Utterly shameful!”
“What is the point of beauty without grace,” asked another woman editor Marianne David. “… Extreme lack of grace, dignity, decency on display.”
Police said distraught de Silva had been hospitalised after the de-crowning. She had complained of a head injury as her crown was pulled off along with pins holding up her hairdo.
However, organisers have reportedly said that they will organize another event on Tuesday to re-crown Pushpika who took to Facebook to insist that she had not divorced her husband, but was only separated from him.
“If I was unsuitable to compete, why did they wait till the finals,” she asked. The public stripping of the crown caused her deep hurt.
She said her young son was also traumatized by the events.
Police said an investigation into the assault complaint was underway.
“The minor offence branch is investigating this ugly incident at the beauty contest,” an officer at Colombo’s Cinnamon Gardens police said. “Parties have been asked to turn up at an inquiry, but the complainant is now in hospital.”
Sri Lanka has not had much luck at international beauty contests, but in 1984 won the first Mrs. World competition held in California when Rosy Senanayake was crowned the most beautiful married woman in the world. Jurie is also the latest Mrs. World after winning the Mrs. Sri Lanka title last year. (COLOMBO, April 5, 2021 – Update II)