Indian chess star Soumya Swaminathan says no to headscarf withdraws event in Iran

PUNE: Indian Woman Grandmaster and former world junior girls’ champion Soumya Swaminathan has withdrawn from the Asian Team Chess Championship.

 The Chess Championship is to conduct in Hamadan, Iran, from July 26 to August 4.

 The reason behind is that the Islamic country’s “compulsory headscarf” rule. The 29-year-old chess star who holds the rank in India No. 5 and in world No. 97 among women thinks it violates her personal rights. She posted on her Facebook account that Iranian law of compulsory headscarf to be in direct violation of my basic human rights.

 “I do not wish to be forced to wear a headscarf or burqa. I find the Iranian law of compulsory headscarf to be in direct violation of my basic human rights, including my right to freedom of expression and right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It seems that under the present circumstances, the only way for me to protect my rights is to not go to Iran,” Earlier, in 2016, top Indian shooter Heena Sidhu had withdrawn from the Asian Airgun meet in Iran citing the same reason.

Soumya asserted that when she first gave the approval to be a part of the Indian team, the host country was to be Bangladesh and the dates were unlike.

“But once the new dates and new venue came up, I excused myself,” she further said.

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