ITANAGAR, Jun 2: Two contestants of the recently held 7th edition of Mrs Arunachal pageant announced on Saturday that they will return their titles in protest against “unfair treatment by the organizing committee.”
Mrs Arunachal 2018 was conducted by the Abu Ane Multipurpose Society and the Muskaan Women Foundation at the Dorjee Khandu State Convention Centre here.
Speaking to media persons at the press club here, one of the contestants, Dr Uma Natung Rimo said, “I am surrendering my third runner-up and best costume titles to the organizing committee as a mark of protest.”
She said that, following the pageant’s grand finale, she was told by one of the committee members that she had been given the runner-up title “out of mercy,” and that she was not actually fit for any title.
“That’s why I am surrendering my title. But at the same time I want to know why I was declared the third runner-up if I was not in the race,” Dr Natung Rimo said.
She said she was also accused of instigating others against the organizing committee.
“The post-event accusation and intimidation by one of the organizing committee members was intolerable,” she said.
By way of proof, Dr Natung Rimo played an audio clip containing the purported voice of a committee member threatening to strip her of the third runner-up title.
The other contestant, Jingchang Chai, who was adjudged the second runner-up of the Mrs Arunachal Classic contest, said she is returning her title because “the committee unfairly deducted my points for walking the ramp with my son.”
Chai claimed that she had walked the ramp with her son with the committee’s permission.
The duo also claimed that they were handed empty envelopes instead of cash prizes. Also questioning the “legitimacy of the 70-30 point-marking ratio of the committee,” they said the point-marking system had been designed in such a way that the judges’ role was curtailed.
“It was more or less a fixed event. The committee had 70 percent mark sharing, and the judges were given only 30 percent. It was utterly unfair,” Dr Natung Rimo alleged.
East Kameng Women Welfare Organization (WWO) advisor Pooza Sonam Notung, who represented the organization at the press conference, said the district will not send any contestant to Mrs Arunachal pageant as long as the event is managed by the current organizing committee.
“We (WWO) withdraw our support from Abu Ane Multipurpose Society and Muskaan Women Foundation as a mark of protest,” she said.
“Dr Uma Natung Rimo was the official candidate from East Kameng. Insulting her with an abusive comment and threatening her was disrespectful to the WWO and the district as a whole,” Sonam Notung said.
“The manner in which they treated the contestants and passed personal comments was highly condemnable and intolerable,” she said, and appealed to the two groups managing the contest to streamline the way the pageant is organized in the future.