NewDelhi: Amazon has withdrawn doormats resembling the Indian national flag from its Canadian website, after external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday warned the online retail giant that if it did not stop selling those products, the ministry would revoke visas granted to the company’s officials working in India.
On Wednesday evening, a Twitter user named ‘Atul Bhobe’ tweeted out to the foreign minister with a picture that showed that a wide variety of doormats were up for sale on Amazon’s Canada website, with several products showing a doormat in the shape of the Indian flag
“Madam. Amazon Canada must be censured and warned not to sell India flag doormats. Please take action,” Bhobe’s tweet said.
Swaraj, who is widely known for quickly responding to diplomatic issues and the problems of Indian citizens living abroad over Twitter, was no less efficient in responding to Bhobe’s concerns.
In a series of tweets, the minister reprimanded the online retailer by first asking the Indian high commission in Canada to help in the matter by “taking it up with Amazon at the highest level”. In following tweets she noted that Amazon needed to “tender an unconditional apology” and then “must withdraw all products insulting our flag immediately”
In a parting shot, Swaraj warned that if Amazon didn’t take action, their company officials and executives working in India could lose their visas. “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.
Her stand drew praise from Tarun Vijay, Rajya Sabha MP for the Bharatiya Janata Party. “Amazon will hv to regret,” he tweeted. “No other way for these firangs” (i.e. whites).
Amazon has written to External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj and expressed regret at hurting Indian sensibilities, said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday,12th January.