Who is Pushpika De Silva - Sri Lanka Beauty Queen and The Truth Behind Divorce Claims
Pushpika De Silva was told she had been disqualified just moments after winning the Mrs Sri Lanka pageant. (Photo: Metro)

Just moments after being revealed as the 2021 winner of Mrs. Sri Lanka, a pageant for married women, Pushpika De Silva faced humiliation as last year's winner, Caroline Jurie, took the mic and announced that the runner-up should take the title instead. The crown was then forcibly removed from a tearful De Silva, who walked off stage, and given to the woman who came second, footage from the ceremony shows. "There is a rule that you all have to be married and not divorced," Jurie told the audience. "The crown goes to the first runner-up." De Silva reportedly needed hospital treatment for injuries caused when the crown was taken off, according to Sky News.

Who is Pushpika De Silva?

Pushpika De Silva, 31, was revealed as the 2021 ‘Mrs. Sri Lanka’, a prestigious contest for married women, during a ceremony at Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre in Colombo at the weekend. Pushpika is a model and a social media influencer who hails from Sri Lanka. This beauty was born and bred in Polonnaruwa, a citadel of ancient Sinhala Royalty that had always dreamt big – of being a Queen of Beauty and taking Sri Lanka to the international arena. So encouraged by her parents and sister, Pushpika applied for the Derana Veet Miss Sri Lanka Pageant in 2010. She reached the top five and won three mini pageants but failed to win the coveted crown, said Sunday Observer.

She won the Miss World Sri Lanka title in 2011 and then participated in the Miss World 2011 beauty pageant contest which was held in London. She also won the best national costume at the Miss Tourism Queen International 2011 which was held in China in November 2011.

De Silva competed at the Top Model of the World Pageant contest in 2013 which was held in Egypt. Pushpika also appeared as a model in Colombo Fashion Week. She also served as a television presenter for Hiru TV for a brief stint hosting few programs.

Who is Pushpika De Silva - Sri Lanka Beauty Queen and The Truth Behind Divorce Claims
Image posted on Facebook by Pushpika De Silva. (Photo: India Today)

The truth behind her divorce claims

She was married to Thilanka Dabarera, a businessman and pilot. The couple has a son together as well. However, the couple separated in 2017 due to personal reasons. Pushpika's husband claimed in a Facebook post that he was not involved with Pushpika for the past 4 years and they are finalizing their divorce. In a Facebook post shared on Monday, De Silva admitted she was separated, but not divorced. “I'm not a divorced woman. I say with great responsibility that I am not a divorced woman even at this moment of writing. If I was a divorcee, I would dare them to submit my divorce scripts," she wrote.

The Daily Mirror article lists that Pushpika’s case has been fixed in court for June/July 2021 and the Mrs. World contest will be held in December 2021, therefore by the time of the competition Pushpika will not be a legally married woman.

According to the media in Sri Lanka, the title will be handed back to her. Chandimal Jayasinghe, the national director of Mrs. Sri Lanka World, said the incident should not have happened and that the winner was decided unanimously by the organizing committee and judges, according to the online newspaper the Colombo Page. He said he did not condone Jurie's actions, the paper said.

Who is Pushpika De Silva - Sri Lanka Beauty Queen and The Truth Behind Divorce Claims
Photo courtesy of De Silva

De Silva's reaction after the accident

Pushpika narrated her story in a post on Facebook, which has gone viral on social media. Her post, translated from Sinhalese to English, reads, “My dear, loving, respectful, intelligent Sri Lanka and people of the world, I know you are expecting my response to the unexpected incident that happened. Even though I have a lot to say, I will post only the essential things here.”

De Silva said she suffered "injuries to my skull" when Jurie "snatched" her crown.“The pain of my skull when my crown was snatched from my head by Mrs Sri Lanka World 2019, the pain I felt when I lost the crown is more than both.”

"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," she wrote in the statement.

Mrs. World Caroline Jurie got arrested for snatching the crown

Mrs. World Caroline Jurie was arrested on Thursday after forcibly removing the tiara off newly crowned Mrs. Sri Lanka Pushpika De Silva's head at Sunday's competition. Jurie along with model Chula Padmendra were arrested for "charges of simple hurt and criminal cause," police spokesman Ajith Rohana told BBC. Reps of Jurie and Padmendra did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's requests for comment. They both were later released on bail and are expected to appear in court on April 19, according to the Associated Press.

In a video of the crowning ceremony published by the Colombo Gazette, Jurie cites a pageant rule that prevents women who have been divorced from winning the title. "There is a rule that you have to be married and not divorced, so I am taking my first steps in saying that the crown goes to the first runner-up," Jurie tells the audience.

Following Jurie's arrest, the chief organizer of Mrs. Sri Lanka pageant, Chandimal Jayasinghe, told the Colombo Gazette that he, Jurie, Padmendra, and De Silva all gave statements at the Cinnamon Gardens Police station before the charges were made. "We are disappointed. It was a disgrace how Caroline Jurie behaved on the stage and the Mrs. World organization has already begun an investigation on the matter," he told the outlet.

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