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Chaos as beauty pageant ends in ugly fight and winner is stripped of crown

A beauty pageant descended into chaos on Sunday night after an argument about one finalist’s eligibility led to a contestant storming off the stage.

Pushpika De Silva was announced as the winner of the contest and was duly crowned Mrs. Sri Lanka 2021.

But, claiming that De Silva was divorced and therefore not entitled to compete, Caroline Jurie, who was last year’s winner, then snatched the crown from De Silva’s head and moved to declare runner-up

“There is a rule that states you have to be married and not divorced, so I am taking steps to make the crown go to the first runner-up,” Jurie told the stunned crowd.

De Silva furiously stormed off stage as the gold crown was being placed on the head of a runner up.

De Silva now says she intends to take legal action over the "unreasonable and insulting" way she was treated. She maintains that she is separated, not yet divorced, and so still technically entitled to wear the crown.

“I have already taken the necessary legal action against the injustice and humiliation caused to me at the event,” she told reporters.

"I'm still an un-divorced woman," she wrote on Facebook. "A true queen is not a woman who snatches another woman's crown, but a woman who secretly sets another woman's crown!”

“Living separately and being divorced are two completely separate things,” De Silva insisted.

She added that she required hospital treatment after the event at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre because of head injuries she sustained as the crown was being snatched from her head.

De Silva, who previously won the Miss Sri Lanka contest in 2011, has now reportedly been re-confirmed as Mrs Sri Lanka and will go on to compete in the Mrs World final later this year.

A statement from the Mrs World organisation read: "We are deeply disturbed and sincerely regret the behaviour of our current title holder Mrs Caroline Jurie… we will review the aforementioned incident and we'll be taking steps, as deemed appropriate, based on the outcome of our assessment."

The national director of Mrs Sri Lanka World, Chandimal Jayasinghe, speaking to the BBC, added that the crown would be returned to Ms De Silva today.

"We are disappointed," he said. "It was a disgrace how Caroline Jurie behaved on the stage and the Mrs World organisation has already begun an investigation on the matter."

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