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World News

12 Jan 2017

After Sushma Swaraj's Visa Threat, Amazon Drops Indian Flag Doormats

After Sushma Swaraj's Visa Threat, Amazon Drops Indian Flag Doormats
NDTV:

After a furious Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj's warning, Amazon has dropped Indian flag-themed doormats from its website.

An Amazon spokesperson said last night that "the item is no longer available for sale on the site."

On Wednesday, Sushma Swaraj said in tweets that Amazon must apologise unconditionally and withdraw all products insulting the flag or Amazon officials would not be granted Indian visas.

"Amazon must tender unconditional apology. They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately," the External Affairs Minister tweeted.

"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 in another tweet.

She reacted after a Twitter user sent her a screen-grab of doormats featuring the flag on sale on Amazon Canada.

The offending products were on offer by two vendors. Under India's law, any desecration of the flag is punishable with fines and imprisonment.
Incensed, Sushma Swaraj tweeted: "Indian High Commission in Canada: This is unacceptable. Please take this up with Amazon at the highest level."

Hours later, the mats were removed from Amazon's catalog with the product pages showing up a 'page not found' error.

Ms Swaraj is one of the most prolific Twitter users in the government and regularly responds to tweets.

Amazon has vowed to invest more than $5 billion in India as it takes on home-grown Flipkart and Snapdeal for a bigger share of the rapidly growing e-commerce market.

Amazon's official support account on Twitter had earlier responded to angry user comments on Twitter by saying the mats were not being sold on their Indian portal and the concerns had been escalated.

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