The winner of Sri Lanka’s top beauty award received a head injury after a brawl broke out on stage.
Beauty queen Pushpika De Silva won the title of “Ms. Sri Lanka” in a ceremony on national television on Sunday.
Moments later, the 2019 winner grabbed Ms De Silva’s crown, claiming she could not receive the title because she was divorced.
The prize has now been returned to Ms De Silva, after competition organizers confirmed she was not divorced.
Judges named Ms. De Silva the 2021 winner of the Ms. Sri Lanka final at a Colombo theater on Sunday evening.
But 2019 winner Caroline Jurie stripped Ms De Silva of her crown, citing a contest rule that contestants must be married and not divorced.
“There is a rule that prevents women who have ever been married and who are divorced, so I am taking steps to move the crown to second place,” Ms. Jurie told the audience.
She placed the crown in second place, prompting tearful Ms De Silva to leave the stage, video of the incident has shown.
The organizers apologized to Ms De Silva, who says she is separated, but not divorced.
In a Facebook post, she said she went to hospital to be treated for head injuries after the incident.
Ms De Silva said she would take legal action for the “unreasonable and insulting” manner in which she was treated.
“I am still an undivided woman,” she wrote. “A true queen is not a woman who tears off another woman’s crown, but a woman who secretly places another woman’s crown!”
Ms Sri Lanka World’s national director Chandimal Jayasinghe told the BBC that the crown would be returned to Ms De Silva on Tuesday.
“We are disappointed,” he said, adding: “It was a shame how Caroline Jurie performed on stage and the Mrs World organization has already opened an investigation into the matter.”
Police questioned Ms. Jurie, who currently holds the title of “Ms. World”, as well as Mr. Jayasinghe, about the incident.
The Ms. Sri Lanka World beauty pageant is a major pageant in the country. The Prime Minister’s wife was among the guests at the ceremony.