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World Indian chess champ pulls out of a competition in Iran because of its mandatory headscarf rule

21:15  13 june  2018
21:15  13 june  2018 Source:   cnn.com

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An Indian chess champion has decided to pull out of a tournament in Iran in protest over that country's compulsory headscarf rule , saying it is a violation of her human rights.

Iran 's hijab rule has already come into conflict with chess players in recent months. More: Iran just sentenced twelve people to jail because of their 'un-Islamic' Instagram photos. 97. Indian women wear cow masks to show they are less safe than cattle.

Indian chess player Soumya Swaminathan has pulled out of Iran tournament over a compulsory headscarf policy.: Indian chess player Soumya Swaminathan has pulled out of an Iran tournament over a compulsory headscarf policy. © Soumya Swaminathan/Facebook Indian chess player Soumya Swaminathan has pulled out of an Iran tournament over a compulsory headscarf policy.

An Indian chess champion has decided to pull out of a tournament in Iran in protest over that country's compulsory headscarf rule, saying it is a violation of her human rights.

Soumya Swaminathan, 29, announced on Facebook she will not take part in the Asian Chess Championship starting next month in Hamadan, Iran, "as I do not wish to be forced to wear a Headscarf of 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," Swaminathan wrote in the post. "It seems that under the present circumstances, the only way for me to protect my rights is not to go to Iran."

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4 2016, Indian Express: Iran ’s hijab law triggers scepticism among players before World Chess Championship In February next year A day after Iran was awarded the championship, US champion Nazi Paikidze pulled out . In Iran women are legally required to wear a hijab or headscarf .

The woman grandmaster and former world junior girls' champ added she was disappointed that international federations do not give enough importance to players' rights and welfare when picking venues for major championships. While organizers expect players to wear national team dresses or sporting attire for the games, "there is no place for an enforceable religious dress code in Sports," she said.

"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."

The chess champ's father, Jairaman Swaminathan, told CNN, "I am very happy that she pulled out. As a father, I felt very sad because it is an important tournament. But sometimes you have to take a stand."

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Since the 1979 revolution, women in Iran are required to wear a headscarf when appearing in public and Iran doesn’t just enforce the hijab on its own nationals but also requires that non- Iranian Last year, American chess champion Nazi Paikidze did not attend a Iran competition out of protest.

Well now, according to this, Paikidze and three other competitors have made it official – they are NOT going to compete in the championships because Iran refuses to back down –. This week 2 female chess champs gave up chance to win World Prize.

Bharat Singh Chauhan, secretary of the All India Chess Federation, called Swaminathan's absence from the tournament "very unfortunate."

"The World Chess Federation's stand is to respect local laws, the law of the land. It'll (Swaminathan's withdrawal from the championship) hamper chances for the Indian team in the championship. Soumya Swaminathan is a strong player."

Indian chess player Soumya Swaminathan says she'll forgo the Asian Chess Championship next month. © Soumya Swaminathan/Facebook Swaminathan says she'll forgo the Asian Chess Championship next month.

It is not the first time an Indian athlete has pulled out of an Iranian competition in protest over its mandatory headscarf rule.

Shooter Heena Sidhu withdrew from the Asian Airgun Shooting Championships in 2016 in Tehran for the same reason, according to an interview she gave to India Today at the time.

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