Police in Sri Lanka on Thursday arrested Mrs World Caroline Jurie after she allegedly injured a fellow beauty queen in an on-stage fracas at the climax of the Mrs Sri Lanka competition held on Sunday.
Pushpika De Silva won the title in the televised ceremony and former winner Jurie was meant to crown her.
Instead, she pulled the crown off De Silva’s head, claiming the title had been wrongly awarded as the new winner was divorced.
“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,” Jurie told the audience.
Jurie placed the crown on the runner-up, prompting a tearful De Silva to leave the stage. She later clarified that she is separated from her husband, not divorced.
Mrs Sri Lanka is part of the international Mrs World beauty pageant series for married women. The winners of each country’s title progress to the overall Mrs World competition.
In a Facebook post, De Silva said she went to hospital to be treated for head injuries after the onstage incident.
“There are a lot of single mums like me today who are suffering in Sri Lanka,” she later told a press conference. “This crown is dedicated to those women, suffering to raise their kids alone.”
She added that she would take legal action for the “unreasonable and insulting” way she was treated.
Another Sri Lankan model involved in the fracas was also arrested as a result of the fracas.
“Police arrested Caroline Jurie and model Chula Padmendra over Sunday’s incident on charges of simple hurt and criminal cause,” police spokesman Ajith Rohana told the BBC.
Jurie and Padmendra were bailed to appear in Colombo Magistrates Court on April 19.
De Silva has now been re-crowned, and the pageant’s organisers have said they expect Jurie to issue a public apology.
Chief organiser of the pageant, Chandimal Jayasinghe, told the BBC, “It was a disgrace how Caroline Jurie behaved on the stage and the Mrs World organisation has already begun an investigation on the matter.”
The Mrs Sri Lanka beauty pageant is a major contest in Sri Lanka and the melee at the finale caused consternation among distinguished guests, one of whom was the prime minister’s wife.