Won’t Wear Hijab, Violates Personal Rights: Indian Chess Star Sowmya Swaminathan On Pulling Out Of Iran Meet

Sowmya Swaminathan (picture via Facebook)

Indian Chess Grandmaster Sowmya Swaminathan has announced that she will be not represent India at the Asian Chess Championship to be held in Iran next month, reports ANI. In a Facebook post, she said that she wouldn’t be part of the meet due to Iran mandating that all women wear a hijab or headscarf as it went against her personal 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...

Posted by Soumya Swaminathan on Saturday, June 9, 2018

Swaminathan is the second Indian sportsperson to pull out of an event in Iran over the headscarf rule after shooter Heena Sindhu who had done so in 2016.

American chess player Nazi Paikidze too had withdrawn from an event in Iran last year over the issue.

The hijab has always been a traditional part of Iranian clothing, but was primarily optional till 1936 when the then Shah Reza Shah banned it in public, allowed the police to physically take it off women who wore it in public. Under his son Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the ban was lifted.

Post the revolution, the Islamic Republic made it mandatory in 1980.

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