Soon after India threatened it won’t grant visas to any Amazon official if the company did not withdraw an Indian flag-themed doormat from its Canadian platform, the e-commerce website removed the article from the online marketplace, a media report said on Thursday.
An Amazon spokesman at its headquarters in Seattle contacted The Washington Post to say that the doormat was no longer for sale on its website.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday took up the cause on Twitter, responding to one of the hundreds of people who have petitioned her to demand action from Canadian authorities.
“Amazon must tender unconditional apology. They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately,” Swaraj said in a tweet.
“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.
An image of the products was tweeted to the Minister, after which she asked the Indian High Commission in Ottawa, Canada, to raise the issue with Amazon.
“Indian High Commission in Canada: This is unacceptable. Please take this up with Amazon at the highest level,” the Minister said in a tweet.
The Indian High Commission did not respond to a request for clarification on whether it had lodged a complaint with Amazon’s Canadian offices.
Doormats featuring the Indian flag were made available on Amazon Canada site by two vendors — Mayers Flag Doormats and XLYL. They also offers versions with the American and Canadian flags. No laws in Canada prohibit these sales.
“Unlike US or Canada where people have shoes, underwear etc made of national flags, we indians respect our flag. Please remove this flag before this information goes viral and people stop using Amazon in india. This is hurting our sentiments,” wrote a user named Soumitra Bhattacharya.
The product had been accruing one-star ratings from offended Indians.