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Apeksha Bagchi

IWB Blogger

Refusing To Wear A Headscarf, Soumya Swaminathan Pulls Out Of Iran Chess Tournament

  • IWB Post
  •  June 13, 2018

Twenty-nine-year-old Soumya Swaminathan, one of the top women chess players in India, has pulled out of the Asian Nations Chess Cup in Hamadan, Iran, protesting the need for women to wear an Islamic headscarf. After the Islamic revolution of 1979, women have required to wear the Islamic headscarf in public places in Iran and only show their face, hands, and feet in public.

“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,” said Soumya.

“It seems that under the present circumstances, the only way for me to protect my rights is not to go to Iran,” she said.

She also criticized chess officials for allotting events to countries like Iran, giving player’s rights and welfare little importance. “I understand the organizers expecting us to wear our national team dress or formals … for our games during official championships, but surely there is no place for an enforceable religious dress code in sports,” she said.

Soumya Swaminathan

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…

The Asian Nations Chess Cup is going to take place in Hamadan from July 27 to August 4 and as it is apparent from her post, Saumya won’t be a part of the 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,” she said.



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