Business

Sushma Swaraj asks Amazon to apologize for disrespecting Indian flag

11 Jan 2017 | By Vijaya

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj sought an unconditional apology from Amazon for selling doormats featuring Indian flag.

She warned Amazon in her tweets saying, "Amazon must tender unconditional apology. 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. We will also rescind the Visas issued earlier."

In context: Outrage over Amazon selling doormats with Indian flag

05 Jan 2017Amazon Canada sells Indian flag themed doormats

Amazon Canada found itself in trouble after its site put up for sale, on behalf of a seller, doormats featuring Indian national flag.

This outraged many Indians who left angry comments on the product's ad page, pointing out the disrespect caused to the flag.

There is also a petition on Change.org demanding removal of these products from the site and for Amazon to apologize.

Vendors selling the Indian flag doormats

The Indian flag doormats were being sold by Mayers Flag Doormats and continue to be listed on the site. Another vendor XLYL, who was also found selling similar doormats, took down their product after facing backlash.

11 Jan 2017Issue brought to Sushma Swaraj's attention

The Amazon flag issue was brought to Sushma Swaraj's attention by one of her followers on Twitter.

The user who sought action against Amazon, tagged the External Affairs Minister with a screenshot of Amazon's website selling "Indian Flag personalized Welcome Doormats".

Calling it unacceptable, Swaraj asked the Indian High Commission in Canada to "take up the issue with Amazon at the highest level."

11 Jan 2017Sushma Swaraj asks Amazon to apologize for disrespecting Indian flag

Not the first for Amazon

The Indian flag doormat issue is not the only controversy faced by Amazon for selling products that are insensitive to Indian sentiments. Previously, the Fortune 500 company enraged many Indians for selling doormats with Hindu Gods like Ganesha and Shiva on them.

11 Jan 2017Legalities of the issue

Featuring Indian flag on a doormat violates various clauses of the Flag Code of India.

The Flag Code of India restricts using the Indian national flag in a demeaning manner.

However, in some Western countries including the United States and Canada, displaying respective national flags on various items like, towels, clothing, underwear, and even doormat, is allowed under local law.

12 Jan 2017Amazon drops Indian flag doormats

Amazon has discontinued selling doormats designed like the Indian flag after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took to Twitter demanding an apology from the company.

Under the Flag Code of India, any desecration of the Indian flag is punishable with fines and imprisonment.

A spokesperson from Amazon said, "the item is no longer available for sale on the site."

31 Mar 2017India went all out to stop Amazon selling tricolour doormats

Sources revealed that India left no stone unturned in making sure that Amazon takes off the tricolour doormats from its website.

India asked the US and Canadian embassies to ensure that such products are not sold, and even prompted a global audit on Amazon to ensure they are not sold elsewhere.

Amazon has made India's flag laws "part of the global compliance process."