Who is Pushpika De Silva? Mrs Sri Lanka winner's crown snatched from head in viral video amid divorce rumors
The national director of Mrs Sri Lanka World said the crown would be returned to De Silva after it was reported that she may just have separated from her husband
Beauty queen Pushpika De Silva won the 'Mrs Sri Lanka' title at a ceremony on national TV on Sunday. As the praise and adulation started pouring in, little did she know that the excitement and happiness were going to end in tears and humiliation right on stage.
Just moments after she was crowned, the 2020 winner of the pageant claimed in front of the entire audience and world that De Silva could not be awarded the title because she was "divorced".
What happened on the stage?
On Sunday night, De Silva had just been named the 2021 winner at the Mrs Sri Lanka final in a theatre in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo. She had been crowned too. But just then, 2020 winner Caroline Jurie took the mic to announce that De Silva was actually not eligible for the crown as she "is a divorcee". Citing a pageant rule that competitors must be married and not divorced, Jurie told the audience, "There is a rule that prevents women who have already been married and are divorced, so I am taking steps to make the crown go to second place."
(1) Mrs. Sri Lanka 2021 held at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre earlier today, ended a short while ago in a brawl.— DailyMirror (@Dailymirror_SL) April 4, 2021
Contestant number 20, Mrs. Pushpika De Silva was announced as the Winner and was crowned by Mrs. Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Mrs. Rosy Senanayake and Chandimal Jayasinghe. pic.twitter.com/ttsxxJRVpz
In a video of the incident that went viral on social media, Jurie is seen taking off the crown from De Silva, and placing it on the runner-up, prompting De Silva to walk off the stage, crying. According to latest reports, the crown has now been returned to De Silva, after pageant organisers apologised and confirmed that she is not a divorcee.
Who is Pushpika De Silva?
In a Facebook post, De Silva said that following the accident, she went to the hospital to be treated for head injuries. And that she plans on taking legal action for the "unreasonable and insulting" way she was treated.
"As I write this, I responsibly say that I am not a divorced woman," she wrote in a statement translated from Sinhala. "If I am divorced, I challenge them to submit my divorce papers."
"So, even though that 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."
"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 added in the (translated) post.
"There are a lot of single mums like me today who are suffering in Sri Lanka," De Silva said in a press conference following the incident on stage. "This crown is dedicated to those women, those single mums who are suffering to raise their kids alone."
"Finally, I say a true queen is not a woman who snatches another woman's crown, but a woman who secretly sets another woman's crown!!" she concluded.
"I do not hate anyone and I forgive those who do so to me at that moment," she wrote in Sinhala. "Nothing can be won by hatred."
According to the latest reports, it may be that De Silva is actually separated from her husband. As one user commented a clarification under her Facebook post, "Marriage is a legal institution that does not depend on co-habitation to be legally valid."
According to De Silva's Instagram page, she won Miss World Sri Lanka 2011.
An apology and an investigation
According to a public apology, Mrs World Inc wrote, "We are deeply disturbed and sincerely regret the behaviour of our current title holder, Mrs Caroline Jurie, Mrs World 2020, at the crowning. Her actions goes against the Mrs Sri Lanka code of conduct and the predetermined regulations she is obliged to follow during her reign."
The national director of Mrs Sri Lanka World, Chandimal Jayasinghe, reportedly said that the crown would be returned to De Silva on Tuesday. "We are disappointed," he said, adding, "It was a disgrace how Caroline Jurie behaved on the stage and the Mrs World organisation has already begun an investigation on the matter."
According to the latest reports, police have questioned Jurie as well as Jayasinghe, about the incident.