Amazon withdraws Indian-flag doormat after Sushma ire

12 Jan 2017


After external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj took strong exception to Amazon Canada selling doormats depicting Indian flag, the e-commerce website on Wednesday removed the article from its portal.

The minister had on Wednesday said Amazon must tender an unconditional apology and withdraw all products insulting the tricolour, otherwise no Amazon official will get an Indian visa.

A spokesman for Seattle-based Amazon contacted The Washington Post to say that the doormat was no longer for sale on its website.

Taking to Twitter, the external affairs minister had said, ''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 said.

Doormats featuring the Indian flag were made available on the Amazon Canada site by two vendors - Mayers Flag Doormats and XLYL.

An image of the products was tweeted to the minister, after which she asked the Indian High Commission in Canada to raise the issue with Amazon.

"@SushmaSwaraj Madam. Amazon Canada must be censured and warned not to sell India flag doormats. Please take action," tweeted Atul Bhobe, who also posted a screenshot of the products.

Responding to this, the minister tweeted, "Indian High Commission in Canada: This is unacceptable. Please take this up with Amazon at the highest level.''

Swaraj's tweets went viral and led to outrage on the social media by Indians and people of Indian origin. "Her tweet storm escalated the protest into a possible diplomatic spat," The Washington Post said.

Amazon founder and chief executive Jeffrey P Bezos is also owner of The Washington Post.

Amazon Canada removed the offensive doormat from its website. However, it continues selling similar doormats with US and British flags.

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