Amazon apologizes to India for selling doormats with national flag

Amazon apologizes to India for doormats

HASH(0xb48f00)

HASH(0xb48f00)

TORONTO — Amazon has apologized to India’s foreign minister for selling doormats depicting the Indian flag on the online shopping giant’s Canadian website.

The head of the retailer in India sent the apology to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday, according to a tweet by a ministry spokesperson.

The statement, which was posted on Twitter under the verified account of spokesperson Vikas Swarup, said Amazon is committed to respecting the laws and customs in India.

In India, insulting the national flag is punishable with fines and imprisonment.

Amit Agarwal, vice-president and country manager of Amazon India, said in a statement the company “regrets” the sale of the offending items, noting that they were offered by a third-party seller in Canada.

“At no time did we intend or mean to offend Indian sentiments,” Agarwal said.

Minister Swaraj had lashed out on Tuesday at Amazon on Twitter, threatening to deny Indian visas to any Amazon employees if the company did not apologize and “withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately.”

“If this is not done forthwith, we will not grant an Indian visa to any Amazon official. We will also rescind the visas issued earlier,” Swaraj tweeted.

The Canadian third-party seller — which also sells mats with other national flags, including the U.S., U.K. and Canada — removed the Indian-themed product, following Swaraj’s Twitter threat.

Swaraj had also ordered the embassy in Canada to take up the matter with Amazon “at the highest level.”

Arun Kumar Sahu, acting High Commissioner of India to Canada, said the situation has now been resolved.

When asked if the embassy will pursue any further action, Sahu said from Ottawa there wouldn’t be anything to follow. “At least I don’t have any instructions on this,” he added.

The doormats had outraged many people among the Indian diaspora in Canada, who posted pictures of them on social media and urged the foreign minister to formally object.

Last year, there were protests after the online marketplace offered doormats depicting Hindu gods.

A spokesperson for Amazon Canada declined to provide any additional comment.

— With files from The Associated Press

 

Follow @LindaNguyenTO on Twitter.

Linda Nguyen, The Associated Press

Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
Man arrested in West Kelowna for stealing police bait car

The suspect has been identified as Raymond Francis Thiffault of Kamloops, who already had an outstanding Canada-wide warrant.

Rose Valley Elementary School. (Contributed)
Central Okanagan School sees second COVID-19 exposure in two days

An exposure was identified at Rose Valley Elementary on April 12 and 13

(Natalia Cuevas-Huaico - Kelowna Capital News)
The Central Okanagan Food Bank said it has seen an increase in people who need help as the pandemic continues. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News/FILE)
Increase in families, seniors using Central Okanagan Food Bank as pandemic continues

Current restrictions have hit the Okanagan’s hospitality workers hard

Marylou Jensen. (Contributed)
Missing senior located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Marylou Jensen left her home in the 900-block of Grenfell Road on foot at 5 p.m. on Tuesday

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 total

FILE – People hold signs during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver on Saturday, August 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to request federal exemption for simple drug possession

Announcement comes on 5-year anniversary of B.C.’s first public health emergency

(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, FIle)
Rare blood clots ‘may be linked’ to AstraZeneca vaccines: Health Canada

One case of the adverse effect has been reported in Canada

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP are looking for the rightful owners of two standup paddleboards seized in an investigation March 19, 2021. (RCMP)
Is this your SUP?: Vernon police

Two standup paddleboards seized by police to be returned

Two men walk past a sign on Main Street in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calls for government transparency in COVID data continue as B.C.’s 3rd wave wears on

Social media, where both information and misinformation can spread like wildfire, has not helped

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Observers ‘gutted’ as pair filmed removing red dresses hung along B.C. highway

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Indigenous Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

A grey whale off the coast of Vancouver Island is being monitored by Canadian and U.S. researchers, as it has developed lesions after being tagged last year. To try and prevent systemic infection from developing, the team administered antibiotics to the whale on March 31 and April 1. (Photo from the NOAA Fisheries website)
Grey whale off Vancouver Island develops lesions after being tagged, researchers monitor its condition

Canadian and U.S. whale experts administered antibiotics to the animal on March 31, April 1

Most Read