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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Flipkart apologises after official handle tells customer Nagaland is outside India

The e-commerce giant deleted the controversial reply to a comment, but by then many had taken screenshots that were widely shared on social media and prompted outrage.

Written by Shreya Das | New Delhi | Updated: October 11, 2020 8:37:53 am
flipkart, flipkart nagaland, flipkart says nagaland outside india, flipkart naga row, viral news, indian expressThe gaffe by demonstrating its ignorance towards the state, it angered many online, while others said this kind of discrimination and lack of awareness is not 'new' or 'surprising.

A faux pas by an employee handling e-retail website Flipkart’s social media handle sparked outrage after a customer in Nagaland was told that a service couldn’t be provided since the location was “outside India”.

As the e-commerce company advertised its Big Billion sale, one customer from Kohima asked on Facebook why the website was no longer delivering items in the state. “We still didn’t get independence and we are still a part of India. Treat all states equally areeh!,” the user said in a comment.

In its reply, the Flipkart handle replied regretting the non-delivery of orders. “Sorry to hear that. We appreciate your interest in shopping with us. However, sellers do not provide our services outside India,” the reply said.

The e-commerce giant later deleted the reply, but by then many had taken screenshots that were widely shared on social media.

Many said this sort of discrimination and lack of awareness wasn’t new or surprising. The incident also caused many to share jokes.

“Imagine a reputed e-commerce company like Flipkart supposed to be run by some of the brightest minds of the country and abroad displaying such heights of ignorance,” one user pointed out.

Noted Naga musician Alobo Naga joked, “Thank you @flipkart for predicting our future & giving us freedom too soon….Nagaland is a new country now according to them.”

Commenting on the photo, Nagaland’s Director General of Police for Borders Affairs Rupin Sharma wrote: “Although not with Flipkart, Even I had this experience once. Nagaland is India #Flipkart.”

He later “politely” invited all to come and witness Nagaland’s famous Hornbill Festival.

Talking to indianexpress.com, Alobo said, “Unfortunately this incident highlights how little people are aware of northeastern state…Many are not aware where Nagaland is, and people can’t be blamed totally, but I think the education system at large can be held responsible for such ignorance.”

He also said the original response was “shameful”.

“It’s annoying and insulting for sure. Can you imagine the same kind of statement coming in reply to a Bihari person saying Bihar is not in India?” he said.

Hekani Jakhalu, who runs a youth-based organisation, said, “It’s one thing to not know one place town or city in the country as India is such a vast place. But to not know a state altogether, it’s clearly a problem of lack of knowledge at a larger scale”.

“I hope many people from different parts of the country can be aware of what’s happening with this incident and be sensitive towards us, and create a conversation to be educated more about this part of India,” she said.

Following the outrage, the e-commerce giant posted an apology for what it said was an inadvertent comment.

“We are extremely sorry about the inadvertent error earlier. We strive to ensure serviceability across the nation, including regions in Nagaland. We are happy to connect with you and provide currently available options…” Flipkart posted.

This isn’t the first time, Flipkart has been embroiled in a controversy in the state. In July, the company faced criticism for a product that was wrongly described as traditional attire from the state.

We have reached out to Flipkart for a comment and the copy will be updated when they respond.

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