Former Junior Girls’ chess Champion Soumya Swaminathan pulled out of the upcoming Asian Team Chess Championship, which is set to be held from July 26 to August 4, in the city of Hamadan in Iran, due to the compulsory rule of wearing a headscarf in the country.

In a Facebook post, the 29-year old said the rule was a “violation” of her human rights.

“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,” she wrote in the post.

Swaminathan said that she has no choice but to not travel to Iran under the current circumstances.

“It seems that under the present circumstances, the only way for me to protect my rights is not to go to Iran,” the India No. 5 wrote in her post.

Swaminathan, who is currently placed in the 97th position in the World Rankings, said that the rights of players are not taken care before organising tournaments.

 

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