Protesting against Iran’s rule which makes it mandatory for women athletes to wear headscarf or hijabs, Grandmaster Soumya Swaminathan has decided to not take part in Asian Team Championship which is going to take place in Iran.

Earlier, in 2016, shooter Hina Sidhu had also refused to take part in Asian Airgun Shooting Championship’ held in Iran due to the same rule. Soumya took to Facebook to announce her decision where she said wearing a headscarf “violated” her basic human right, including her right to freedom, conscience and religion.

However, she also told that it’s her decision and point of view can vary from person to person. In her strong worded FB post she wrote,
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.”

She further wrote that enforcing a religious dress code in a sports competition is not justified.”I understand the organisers expecting us to wear our National Team Dress or Formals or Sporting attire for our games during official championships, but surely there is no place for an enforceable religious dress code in Sports.

Soumya had initially agreed to be a part of the Indian team for the championship when the host country was to be Bangladesh. But once the new dates and new venue came up she changed her decision.

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