Amazon removes Indian flag doormat link after visa threat

Amazon.com removed doormats resembling the Indian tri-colour flag from its Canadian website on Wednesday, after an Indian government threat to rescind visas of the U.S. company's employees.

By: Reuters | Mumbai | Updated: January 12, 2017 8:54 am
amazon, sushma swaraj Amazon.com removed doormats resembling the Indian tri-colour flag from its Canadian website on Wednesday. (Source: Express Image)

Amazon.com removed doormats resembling the Indian tri-colour flag from its Canadian website on Wednesday, after an Indian government threat to rescind visas of the U.S. company’s employees if they did not stop selling the product. “Amazon must tender unconditional apology,” India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Twitter. “They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately.”

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“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.” The doormat, sold by a third-party on Amazon’s Canadian portal, appeared to have been taken down late on Wednesday. Searches failed to bring up the item, although the e-commerce giant did not confirm it had removed it.

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 India did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment, while Amazon representatives in Canada and the United States were not immediately reachable for comment. 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 Indian premier Narendra Modi in Washington last year, Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said India was the company’s fastest growing region.

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  1. G
    Gaja
    Jan 12, 2017 at 12:01 am
    If you want to buy one, try zazzleDOTcom. Really cheap!
    Reply
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      Earthkeeper
      Jan 11, 2017 at 11:32 pm
      I am sure you are talking about your mother . That's what your upbringing is
      Reply
      1. E
        Earthkeeper
        Jan 11, 2017 at 11:02 pm
        The funny part is she is giving visa threat lt;br/gt;😃😃😃😃
        Reply
        1. E
          Earthkeeper
          Jan 11, 2017 at 10:56 pm
          We can urinate , spit and throw rubbish anywhere we like on mother india and no one cares . The air we breathe in North India is nothing less then poison . The food we eat has 100 times more pesticides then acceptable. If you really care about your country then deal with real issues . This pseudonationalism to just be in the news is disgusting .
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            Earthkeeper
            Jan 11, 2017 at 9:58 pm
            When will Indians grow up ????? lt;br/gt;They sell mats, bikinis etc etc of flags ofevery single country in the world butility know one cares . But only Indians are bothered . Deep rooted inferiority complex .
            Reply
            1. J
              Joyce
              Jan 12, 2017 at 3:08 am
              And on the other hand trivial posters of child molester Mohammed and you kiIIed many In Paris and Amsterdam.
              Reply
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                Modi.the.BUTCHER
                Jan 11, 2017 at 10:16 pm
                DOES ANYBODY EVEN REMEMBER THE ULTRA NATIONALIST BUTCHER MODI WIPING HIS FACE WITH INDIAN FLAG AFTER A YOGA SESSION?lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Does SWISSma Swaraj have the courage to advise THE BUTCHER?
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                  Mr. peepee
                  Jan 12, 2017 at 3:47 am
                  I'm thinking of making an Indian flag urinal to sell them in stan.
                  Reply
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