In the wake of Mahatma Gandhi flip-flops being sold on Amazon’s website, the Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday said the company should respect Indian sensitiveness and sentiments.
“As a follow up to the matter regarding the sale of doormats with the Indian flag on Amazon, our Ambassador in Washington has been instructed to convey to Amazon that while providing a platform for third party vendors, they should respect Indian sensitivities and sentiments,” said a spokesperson of MEA, Vikas Swarup.
Two days after Amazon’s Canada portal removed the article with doormats depicting the Indian flag after India objected to it, the online company, on its US portal, again put up another article of slippers with Mahatma Gandhi’s face on it.
Amazon describes the products as ‘Gandhi flip flops’ as a pair of “foam rubber flip flops”. It costs $16.99, or about Rs 1,200.
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 had said on Thursday.
“Amazon must tender unconditional apology. They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately,” Swaraj had said in a tweet.
Secretary of Economic Affairs Ministry, Shaktikanta Das too asked e-tailer Amazon to refrain from being flippant about Indian symbols and icons and warned the American e-commerce giant that “indifference will be at your own peril”.
“Amazon, better behave. Desist from being flippant about Indian symbols & icons. Indifference will be at your own peril,” Das said in a tweet on Sunday.
“Remain committed to economic reforms, ease of doing business & open trade. Sometimes get touchy when our icons are involved,” he said in a separate tweet.
In a third tweet, however, he added: “Comment on Amazon was as a citizen of India as I felt strongly about it. Nothing more should be read into it.”