Indian Grandmaster withdraws from  Asian Team Chess Championship in Iran due to compulsory headscarf rule

Indian Grandmaster withdraws from Asian Team Chess Championship in Iran due to compulsory headscarf rule

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 13 Jun 2018

New Delhi, June 13 (IBNS):  Woman Grandmaster and former world junior girls' champion Soumya Swaminathan on Tuesday said she has withdrawn her name from   Asian Team Chess Championship in Iran as she felt that the compulsory-headscarf rule in the country was violating her personal rights.

The Grandmaster shared her feeling on Facebook by writing a post.

" I am very sorry to state that I have asked to be excused from the Indian Women's team for the forthcoming Asian Nations Cup ( Asian Team ) Chess Championship 2018, to be held at Iran from 26 July - 4 Aug 2018, as I do not wish to be forced to wear a Headscarf or Burkha. 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 said.

The event will be held in Hamadan city in Iran from July 26 to Aug 4.

Full text of her Facebook post is given below:

"I am very sorry to state that I have asked to be excused from the Indian Women's team for the forthcoming Asian Nations Cup ( Asian Team ) Chess Championship 2018, to be held at Iran from 26 July - 4 Aug 2018, as I do not wish to be forced to wear a Headscarf or Burkha. 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.

I am very disappointed to see that player's rights and welfare are given such less importance while allotting and/or organising official championships. I understand the organisers 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.

It is a huge honour for me to represent India everytime I am selected in the National Team and I deeply regret that I will be unable to participate in such an important championship. While we sportspersons are willing to make several adjustments for the sake of our sport, always giving it top priority in our life, some things simply cannot be compromised."

Image:  Soumya Swaminathan Facebook page

Indian Grandmaster withdraws from Asian Team Chess Championship in Iran due to compulsory headscarf rule

India Blooms News Service
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