Chess star Soumya Swaminathan pulls out of Iran Event due to compulsory head-scarf rule
India chess grandmaster Soumya Swaminathan has withdrawn from the Asian team Chess Championship set to be held in Iran from 26 July to 4 August, over the compulsory-headscarf rule in the country.
Soumya took to Facebook to inform that she won’t participate in the Iran event as she feels the country’s strict rule for women to wear a head-scarf is a violation of her personal rights.
“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 not to go to Iran,” she wrote.
She further wrote that: “I am very disappointed to see that player’s rights and welfare are given such less importance while allotting and/or organizing official championships. I understand the organizers expecting us to wear our National Team Dress or Formals or Sporting attire for our games during official championships, but surely there is no place for an enforceable religious dress code in Sports.”
This is not the first time an Indian athlete has pulled out of an event the compulsory-headscarf rule. In 2016, top Indian shooter Heena Sidhu did not participate in Asian Airgun meet in Iran citing the same reason. American chess player Nazi Paikidze also pulled out from the World Championship in Tehran, last year over the same issue.