FEBRUARY 19, 2017 8°C Baku 3°C Xankandi 5°C Khachmaz 9°C Barda 10°C Lenkoran 4°C Nakhchivan 8°C Ganja

Amazon blocks sales of Indian flag doormat

Date: 12.01.17, 10:34

Font size : - / +

Online retail giant Amazon was forced to pull Indian flag-themed doormats off its Canadian website after being reprimanded by the Indian foreign minister, who demanded that the retailer take down the item “immediately” and issue an “unconditional apology.”

The row between the behemoth online retailer and the Indian minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj erupted after an attentive user from Mumbai sent her a screenshot of Amazon Canada website showing doormats with an Indian tricolor.

Per India’s flag code, it is prohibited to use it as part of the “any dress material” in printed or embroidered form, including on napkins, cushions, handkerchiefs as well as putting “any kind of inscription” upon it.

“Madam. Amazon Canada must be censured and warned not to sell India flag doormats,” Atul Bhobe wrote to Swaraj in a tweet, that has since been liked over a thousand times, urging her to “take action.”

It did not take much time for the official, who retweeted the image, to produce a swift response framed in a string of angry tweets.

“Amazon must tender unconditional apology. They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately,” the politician wrote, urging Indian High Commission in Canada, to confront Amazon over the issue “at the highest level.”

Underlining the seriousness of the matter, Swaraj warned Amazon that India “will not grant Indian Visa to any Amazon official” and annul those already issued to the company’s personnel if the company refuses to comply with the request.

While some people reacting to the statement online branded Swaraj’s attack on the retailer an overreaction, the majority have commended her efforts in preserving the dignity of the Indian state symbol, even if such endeavor risks worsening relations with Amazon that has been actively expanding into the Indian online market.

Last year, the e-commerce mammoth’s CEO Jeff Bezos announced that Amazon would invest extra $3 billion in its operations in India, in addition to the $2 billion it pledged to invest in 2014, thus increasing its total investment to $5 billion.

“Mam, Nation appreciate and admire your stand against Indian Flag abusers,” Serendra Poonia wrote.

“Some things are more important than money,” @macgupta123 commented, responding to the concerns voiced by one of the commentators, that Swaraj’s sharp reaction “over a silly doormat” can “kill a 3-5 billion dollar investment.”

“Dear @amazon @amazonIN You`re going to pay heavily for this. Indians don`t take such insults lightly. Brace yourself!” Pavan Joshi echoed the mood.

Some of the commentators noted that the Indian flag was not only the one national flag which is styled as a doormat and sold on Amazon websites.

Addressing the controversy, the company’s official customer service account on Twitter @AmazonHelp said that Amazon “never sold these products” on its Indian website, Amazon.In, while responding to the request to remove it by one of the Indian customers.

“We have escalated this to our concerned teams and are working on the issue,” it added.

Despite some concerns that the online bickering can drive a wedge between the retailer and the Indian government and even result in potential material losses, Amazon has not seemingly taken the threats as an offense, as it promptly withdrew the controversial item on Wednesday.

“The item is no longer available for sale on the site,” a spokeswoman for Amazon told Reuters in an email.

The notion, that Amazon should be held responsible for all politically incorrect or insensitive items sold by third parties on its website have more on one occasion landed it in hot water.

In the latest of such cases, the largest US police union, The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), asked Bezos to remove “Bulletproof Black Lives Matter Shirt” from the range of its products, with the union’s President, Chuck Canterbury calling the garment “offensive” and contributing to the spread of “urban myths.”

In November, another controversially themed doormat, with the word “Allah” written in Islamic calligraphy on top of it, was reportedly removed by Amazon after it sparked a barrage of fierce online criticism from the Muslim community, which felt insulted by the use of a sacred name.

Read : 1114

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to an AzVision.az journalist.
You can also contact us in the following ways:
Send your e-mails to en.azvision@gmail.com
Send pictures/video to yourpic.azvision@gmail.com
Tweet: @AzvisionEn
Or, you can comment here:

(Do not use phrases offending others and encouraging discrimination based on race, religion, age, nationality. Don not incite to breach Azerbaijan laws. Otherwise, your comments will either be edited or deleted)
You can write maximum 512 symbols

Oil prices

Azerbaijan in Focus

11 days in Mystic Azerbaijan


Other news from category WORLD

Georgia to repair roads to Azerbaijan and Armenia Turkish airstrikes kill 8 PKK terrorists in northern Iraq 8 leadership lessons from history Suicide bomb in Somalia capital kills 18, wounds 25 Boat capsizes off Sri Lanka coast, 10 dead US aircraft carrier strike group starts patrolling waterway claimed by China Thousands urge Spain to take in more refugees in Barcelona protest Malaysia police working with Interpol on murder case of N.Korea leader’s brother Islam is not source of terrorism, says Germany`s Merkel Trump cites terror attack in Sweden that didn’t happen during rally CIA spying on 2012 French elections fits into `notorious` pattern Azerbaijani female karate fighter wins European bronze Twenty-five dead in Machete Massacre in Eastern Congo DRC Iraqi Forces launch major push to liberate Western Mosul from Daesh China tells Japan `negative` moves prevent improvement in ties Odebrecht case: Thousands protest in Panama City New York bomb plot mastermind Omar Abdel Rahman dies in prison At least 4 dead as fierce Southern California storm causes flash floods Sri Lanka arrests soldiers over journalist`s abduction during war At least 19 killed in Argentine bus crash Trump wants to build `Safe Zones` in Syria, make gulf states pay for it 6.3 magnitude earthquake strikes northern Argentina Yildirim, Pence agree on common stance versus terrorism Roe v Wade: Woman in US abortion legal test case dies Belgium train derailment: One dead and many injured France says it wants Pence to clarify Trump`s stance on EU Why stress makes you more likely to have a heart attack Deaths in Armenian army are due to disorders - Retired General 5 foods that lower cholesterol naturally Azerbaijanis stage rally in Cologne to commemorate Khojaly genocide