29-year-old Indian chess star Soumya Swaminathan is most definitely India’s female version of Viswanathan Anand. Soumya is ranked 97 among other female chess players in the world and ranks 5th in India. Soumya Swaminathan is also a Woman Grandmaster (WGM) and former world junior girls champion.
The ace Indian chess champion has, in a major blow to India, pulled out of an event in Iran over an official rule for women participants.
Indian chess star Swaminathan Swaminathan excused herself from the Asian Nations Cup Chess Championship 2018, to be held from July 26, 2018 to August 4, 2018.
After Iran’s compulsory “headscarf rule” angered Soumya, she lashed out openly saying the Islamic country’s rule is a “violation of her personal rights”.
Soumya blasted the officialdom in her recent Facebook post, and said, “I am very disappointed to see player’s rights are given little importance while organising official championships.”
Indian chess star Soumya Swaminathan expressed her displeasure while she also raised her opinion against the “compulsory” rule. She further stated:
“I do not wish to be forced to wear a headscarf or burqa. 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 to not go to Iran.”
Even though she criticised chess officials for allotting events without players’ individual rights, she said that it is an honour to represent India in international events.
A day before her big and shocking announcement, Swaminathan attended the Indian Oil Sports Conclave 2018 held at New Delhi on June 8.
She shook the world of sports with this Facebook excerpt, and one can check its full version here:
Indian chess star Soumya Swaminathan received a lot of positive comments and she’s a true hero now. Some have lauded her bravery, while others are happy with her strong stance.
Bravo! Indian chess star Soumya Swaminathan refuses to wear a Hijab at a chess championship in Iran – Times of India https://t.co/J9XEcd1htX
— Tarek Fatah ਤਾਰੇਕ ਫਤਹ (@TarekFatah) June 13, 2018
People called her “Bravo”
Indian chess star, Soumya Swaminathan, withdraws from #Iran event over headscarf rule.
Glad to see a woman taking bold steps to defend her rights-
Slamming the conventions like a knight!
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— Nausheen Khan (@DrNausheenKhan) 13 June 2018
This one had a funny take:
Chess star Soumya Swaminathan pulls out of Iran event over headscarf rule.
She was also worried that the chess pieces would look like this… pic.twitter.com/wze6FT4WHc
— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) June 13, 2018
This user shamed Iran as well:
1) Now, Indian chess star Soumya Swaminathan says no to Hjab, pulls out of event in Iran
2) In 2016 Indian shooter Heena Sidhu withdrew from tournament in Iran, said won't wear Hijab
Shame on Iran. Religious dress codes should not be imposed on Players. Salute to Soumya & Heena
— Anshul Saxena (@AskAnshul) June 13, 2018
Soumya made some people “genuinely” happy!
I am genuinely happy that Soumya Swaminathan stood her ground and refused to wear a hijab for a chess tournament in Iran. I am happy that the entire spectrum of Indian Twitterati is supporting her on her decision. Everyone can choose whatever they wish to wear, eat, or love.
— Manuel S M (@ThisIsManuelSM) June 13, 2018
This user bowed to Soumya’s decision!
Indian chess star Soumya Swaminathan says no to #Hjab. Pulls out of Asian Team Chess Championship to be held in Hamadan, Iran.
Religious dress codes should not be imposed on players. Period.
— Farah Khan (@FaraaahKhan) June 13, 2018
Bharat Singh Chauhan, the All India Chess Federation honorary secretary, has refused to comment on this issue but we hail Soumya for her courage. What do you think? Tell us in the comments.