India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj has criticised online retail giant Amazon after its Canadian website was found to be offer doormats featuring the Indian flag.
Sushma Swaraj tweeted that Amazon should issue an “unconditional apology” and withdraw the “insulting” products.
Failing this, she said India would rescind current visas for Amazon officials and not allow any more. Amazon said it had removed the doormats from its website.
In a series of tweets, Ms Swaraj asked the Indian High Commission in Canada to take up the matter with Amazon. “Amazon must tender unconditional apology. They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately,” she said in a tweet.
Indian High Commission in Canada : This is unacceptable. Please take this up with Amazon at the highest level. https://t.co/L4yI3gLk3h
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) January 11, 2017
The doormats, which were being sold by a third-party and described as “personalised durable machine-washable indoor/outdoor items”, were removed from the website on Wednesday.
“The item is no longer available for sale on the website,” an Amazon representative said in an email.
Amazon offers doormats featuring flags of other nations but in India Disrespect to the national flag is a punishable offense in India. It includes a three-year imprisons term and a fine or both.
The Amazon Canada, which was selling the Indian flag doormat, also has the British and the Canadian flags in its stock. The Indian flag doormat was valued at 34.99 Canadian dollars – which is 1803 rupees.
The Amazon Canada, which was offering the Indian banner doormat, likewise has the British and the Canadian banners in its stock. The Indian banner doormat was valued at $35.99 Canadian dollars – which is 1859 rupees.
Last June Amazon found itself in a similar controversy over sales of products illustrating Hindu gods.
The row comes as Flipkart, India’s biggest online retailer, is involved in a savage fight with Amazon over market share.
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