Indian Chess Star Soumya Swaminathan Pulls Out of Iran Event Over Compulsory Headscarf LawJune 13, 2018 10:16
(Image source from: YouTube)
Woman Grandmaster and World Junior Girls champion Soumya Swaminathan has withdrawn from the Asian Team Chess Championship, to be held in Hamadan, Iran, from July 26 to August 4, citing compulsory headscarf law calling it violative of her personal 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," the 29-year-old, who is India No. 5 and world No. 97 among women, posted on her Facebook account.
The top shooter Heena Sidhu had withdrawn from the Asian Airgun meet in Iran citing the same reason, earlier, in 2016.
However, Soumy a blasted the officialdom, in her Facebook message saying that she is very discomfited to see that player's rights and welfare are given little importance while allotting and/or organizing official championships.
Soumya said that when she first gave the nod to be a part of the Indian team, the host country was to be Bangladesh and the dates were different. "But once the new dates and new venue came up, I excused myself," When asked if the All India Chess Federation (AICF) should have protested against the decision to allow the tournament to Iran. She said "I can’t expect everyone to be of the same opinion as me. It’s a subjective issue."
All India Chess Federation honorary secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan, did not respond to requests for comment.
Majority of people appreciated her brave stance through comments on her Facebook post.
The inside information of remaining members in the five-member women's team is incomplete.
Earlier, American chess player Nazi Paikidze as well refused to play the knockout World Championship in Tehran, Iran, over the same issue.
By Sowmya Sangam