Tricolour doormat row: 'Respect Indian sentiments', Centre warns Amazon
New Delhi [India], Jan. 14 (ANI): In the wake of the tricolour doormat being sold on Amazon that raised a furore across the nation, the Indian Government on Saturday called on the online shopping giant to respect Indian sentiments while providing a platform for third party vendors.
As a follow up to the matter regarding the sale of doormats with the Indian flag on Amazon, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has instructed Indian Ambassador in Washington Navtej Sarna to convey to Amazon that while providing a platform for third party vendors, they should respect Indian sensitivities and sentiments.
This is the second reprimand by the Indian Government for Amazon who came under flak after images surfaced showing doormats with the Indian flag colours being sold on its website.
"The External Affairs Minister immediately responded seeking an apology from Amazon and asking for the offending item to be removed. Within one day, the vice-president and country head of Amazon wrote to her expressing regret and indicating that the item had been pulled from the website. We appreciate the prompt response from Amazon and hope that such incidents are not repeated in the future," MEA official spokesperson Vikas Swarup told ANI.
Amazon had also apologised to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for hurting the patriotic sentiments of the people by selling a doormats printed with the Indian flag.
"In response to EAM @SushmaSwaraj's tweet, @amazon writes to her, expresses regret at hurting Indian sensibilities, pulls offending item," MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in a tweet.
Swaraj fumed on social media after discovering how Amazon sells doormats printed with the Indian flag upon it.
In a strict warning to the e-commerce giant, Swaraj said that the sale of such products should be repealed at the earliest. She also instructed Amazon to tender an apology for featuring products which humiliate India on their site.
Sending a warning to Amazon India officials, Swaraj said that the visas of the company personnel would not be approved if her warning remains ignored.
According to State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005, the use of national emblem "for the purpose of any trade, business, calling or profession or in the title of any patent, or in any trade mark or design" is punishable offence.
In a series of tweets she said, "Indian High Commission in Canada: This is unacceptable. Please take this up with Amazon at the highest level."
"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," she added.
Two vendors, namely Mayers Flag Doormats and XLYL, have been selling Indian flag themed doormats.
However, the product ticked off many as it was 'disrespectful' and violates various laws of the Flag Code of India.
A petition has been filed with Change.org, which called for the product's removal since it hurt the sentiments of over one billion Indians. (ANI)