The ugly scenes unfolded moments after beauty queen Pushpika De Silva won the "Mrs Sri Lanka" title at Colombo theatre on Sunday night and she was briefly crowned by prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s wife Shiranthi Rajapaksa.
Mrs World Caroline Jurie, who was at the ceremony, suddenly appeared on stage and announced Ms De Silva stands disqualified and cannot hold the title because she is divorced.
“I am taking my first steps saying that the crown goes to the first runner up,” Ms Jurie said. “There is a rule that prevents women who have already been married and are divorced.”
As the live audience watched, Ms Jurie walked towards Mrs Sri Lanka and ripped off her gold crown, hastily removing a set of pins in the process as the situation turned heated on stage.
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Ms De Silva was forced to walk off the stage and the tearful first runner-up was crowned instead, as everyone on the stage cheered.
The contestant was hospitalised for her head injuries due to the brawl, reported EconomyNext.
She later took to Facebook and described the incident as “injustice and insult,” saying she would take legal action.
"I’m still an un-divorced woman," she said. "A true queen is not a woman who snatches another woman’s crown, but a woman who secretly sets another woman’s crown!"
She acknowledged that she is separated from her husband and lives with her child and dared the jury to provide evidence of the claims.
“I haven’t hidden from the world that I’m with my child. I also have personal reasons to be that way. But, being apart is one. Divorce is something else,” she said.
The organisers of the Mrs Sri Lanka World pageant have said they will return the crown to Ms De Silva on Tuesday and investigations have begun into the matter.
The police said Ms De Silva had lodged a complaint and both parties have been asked to turn up for the inquiry.
“The minor offence branch is investigating this ugly incident at the beauty contest,” an officer said at Colombo’s Cinnamon Gardens police station.
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