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After Strong Protest, Amazon Removes Offensive Indian Flag Doormats From Its Site

After strong protest by India over Amazon selling doormats depicting Indian flag, the e-retail giant has removed the offensive article from its Canadian website

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Photo Credit : Reuters,

Amazon.com removed doormats resembling the Indian tri-colour flag from its Canadian website on Wednesday (January 11), after an Indian government threat to rescind visas of the US company's employees if they did not stop selling the product.

"Amazon must tender unconditional apology," External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Twitter. "They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately."

"If this is not done forthwith, we will not grant Indian Visa to any Amazon official," she added. "We will also rescind the Visas issued earlier."

Swaraj's tweets went viral and led to an outrage on the social media by Indians and people of Indian-origin.

"Her tweet storm escalated the protest into a possible diplomatic spat," The Washington Post said.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeffrey P Bezos is also owner of The Washington Post.

Amazon Canada removed the offensive doormat from its website. However, it was selling similar doormats with US and British flags.

"The item is no longer available for sale on the site," a spokeswoman for Amazon said in an email.

Amazon's portal in Canada sells doormats fashioned around other national flags, but under Indian law any desecration of its flag is punishable with fines and imprisonment.

Amazon's official support account on Twitter had earlier responded to angry user comments on Twitter by saying the mats were not being sold on their Indian portal and the concerns had been escalated. Swaraj tweeted that she had asked the Indian High Commission in Canada to take up the issue with Amazon, after it was brought to her attention by a Twitter user from India's financial capital of Mumbai.

Swaraj is a prolific user of the social media website and often responds to tweets directed at her.

Amazon is making a huge bet on India and has vowed to invest more than $5 billion as it takes on home-grown Flipkart and Snapdeal for a bigger share of the world's fastest growing internet services market.

In an event attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington last year, Bezos said India was the company's fastest growing region.

(Reuters / PTI)


Tags assigned to this article:
amazon Indian flag sushma swaraj jeff bezos narendra modi

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