Former Junior Girls’ chess Champion Soumya Swaminathan pulled out of Asian Team Chess Championship scheduled to be held from July 26 to August 4 in Iran. Swaminathan took the bold decision due to the compulsory rule of wearing a headscarf in the country. She made the announcement in a Facebook post.
“I am feeling bad that I am not able to answer properly. I am unable to handle it,” she said when contacted by PTI for a comment.
Talking about her decision, Soumya said that she believes in all religions and this is her personal decision.
“It was a personal decision and I have nothing more to add to it. I believe in all religions and follow their rules but you can’t force it outside religious places,” she explained.
“When we go to a temple we leave our footwear outside out of respect. It is part of our culture. But can you make it compulsory in entire India outside temples? How will it work?” she asked.
Soumya further added that religion and sport cannot be mixed and there should be no specific religious instructions in a sport.
“Religion and sport cannot be mixed. No sporting field should have space for religious instructions,” she added.
“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,” the post that was made by Soumya earlier in the day read.