The Asian Team Chess Championship is scheduled to be held at Hamadan in Iran from July 26 to August 4
World Junior Girls Chess Championship (under-20) winner Soumya Swaminathan pulled out of the Asian Team Chess Championship, scheduled to be held in Iran, finding the "mandatory headscarf in direct violation of her basic human rights".
In her Facebook post, Swaminathan expressed her disapproval of the Iranian law for compulsory headscarf or burkha, saying it is in direct violation of her fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression and practising one’s religion.
She pointed out the less importance given to the player’s rights while organizing international championships, adding, “There is no place for an enforceable religious dress code in sports."
While she expressed remorse for being unable to represent her country in an “important championship”, she was firm that human rights cannot be compromised.
All India Chess Federation honorary secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan has not commented on the issue yet.
The Asian Team Chess Championship is scheduled to be held at Hamadan in Iran from July 26 to August 4. Winners of this championship will qualify for the World Team Chess Champions.
However, this is not the only time when players have refused to play citing violation of human rights. Indian shooter Heena Sidhu had withdrawn from the Asian Airgun meet in Iran in 2016 for the same reason.Among other chess players, American chess player Nazi Paikidze had also refused to play the knockout World Championship in Tehran, Iran, last year citing the same reason. Ukraine’s Muzhychuk sisters, Anna and Mariya, had also refused to play premier tournaments in Saudi Arabia, expressing their concerns about human rights violations and gender inequality.