India's Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu crowned Miss Universe 2021

02:45 PM | 13 Dec, 2021
India's Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu crowned Miss Universe 2021
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India's Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu has been crowned Miss Universe in the Israeli city of Eilat amid a plethora of controversies where contestants defied pressure to boycott in support of the Palestinians.

Punjab's beauty queen bagged the top prize in the Red Sea resort. Paraguay’s Nadia Ferreira was the first runner-up and South Africa's Lalela Mswane took the second runner-up spot.

The 70th edition of the annual pageant was held in Israel for the first time and also faced complications from the coronavirus pandemic.

Moreover, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel wrote: “We urge all participants to withdraw, to avoid complicity in Israel’s apartheid regime and its violation of Palestinian human rights.”

The 80 contestants also included Miss Morocco Kawtar Benhalima and Miss Bahrain Manar Nadeem Deyani, whose majority Muslim nations normalised ties with Israel last year.  

Muslim-majority states like Indonesia and Malaysia do not have diplomatic relations with Israel and have not sent contestants. While the United Arab Emirates normalised ties with Israel last year, they did not send a candidate.

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