Amazon removes doormats with Indian flag after Sushma Swaraj threatens to stop granting visa to its employees
Following Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj’s threat of not granting Indian Visa to any Amazon official if the company failed to stop selling doormats resembling the Indian tri-colour flag from its Canadian website, Amazon.com removed the product from its platform.
A spokesman for Amazon based at its headquarters in Seattle contacted The Washington Post to say that the doormat was no longer for sale on its website.
Swaraj, on Wednesday, said Amazon must tender an unconditional apology and withdraw all products insulting the tri-color, otherwise no Amazon official will get an Indian visa.
“Amazon must tender unconditional apology. They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately,” the External Affairs Minister said in a tweet.
“If this is not done forthwith, we will not grant Indian Visa to any Amazon official. We will also rescind the Visas issued earlier,” she said.
An image of the products was tweeted to the Minister, after which she asked the Indian High Commission in Canada to raise the issue with Amazon. Swaraj is an active user of Twitter and often responds to tweets directed at her.
“Indian High Commission in Canada: This is unacceptable. Please take this up with Amazon at the highest level,” the Minister tweeted.
Amazon’s Canada portal sells doormats fashioned around national flags, but under Indian law any desecration of its flag is punishable with fines and imprisonment.
Doormats featuring the Indian flag were made available on Amazon Canada site by two vendors, Mayers Flag Doormats and XLYL.
The US-based e-commerce giant has also made a huge bet on India and vowed to invest more than $5 billion as it goes head to head with the home-grown Flipkart and Snapdeal for a larger share of the world’s fastest growing internet services market.