Diana Hayden
Miss India Diana Hayden poses for photographers after winning the Miss World Pageant, November 23, 1997.Reuters

Former Miss World Diana Hayden has hit back at Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb after his remarks on her winning the beauty pageant title in the year 1997 went viral. Hayden said that she is hurt by his comments.

"I am fighting this brown skin bias since my childhood. And I have succeeded. People should be proud of my achievement, rather than belittling it. I am a proud brown-skinned Indian. I am hurt. The minister is in a prominent position and he should be careful about what he says," Hayden told News18.

Deb made news Thursday after he said that Hayden didn't deserve to win the title. He belittled her and praised Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who was crowned Miss World in 1994. Deb said Aishwarya has the "essence of the beauty of Indian women".

He also said that Hayden won the title because of "international fashion mafias". Deb made the comments when he was in Agartala, capital of India's northeast state Tripura, attending a workshop on handlooms.

Biplab Kumar Deb
In picture: Tripura BJP president Biplab Kumar Deb.Twitter/Biplab Kumar Deb official handle

"Even Dayna Hayden got it (the world title). See, everyone is laughing. Tell me, was Diana Hayden supposed to get it? Aishwarya Rai got it. That's justified, because she carries the essence of the beauty of Indian women. Indian beauty is all about Goddess Laxmi, Goddess Saraswati... Diana Hayden does not fit to that class of beauty," Deb said, according to NDTV, adding: "I am not opposing her though."

He also said that the jury of the Miss World competition is going to some other countries and that is why there are no winners from India.

"International companies made prior plans to take over our Indian traditional products and consequently, we got Miss World from India five times. Any Indian contestant seemed to be able to take part in the Miss World contest and win the crown, even Diana Hayden got it. I am not criticising her but didn't find traits of Indian beauty in her," he said.