The Union Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday asked e-commerce giant Amazon to “respect Indian sentiments” after the firm’s US portal put up slippers with Mahatma Gandhi’s picture on them for sale. “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,” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup told PTI.
The matter came to light after a few Twitter users complained to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the microblogging site. Some of them also tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in their tweets. The flip-flops, priced at $16.99 (Rs 1,200 approximately), were available till Sunday morning.
This comes three days after Amazon India had expressed regret over its Canadian arm selling doormats bearing the Indian national flag. “Amazon India is committed to respecting Indian laws and customs...At no time did we intend or mean to offend Indian sentiments,” Amit Agarwal, Vice President and Country Manager, Amazon India had said.
Amazon Canada had removed the item from its website after Swaraj threatened to cancel visas of their employees and demanded an unconditional apology. One Atul Bhobe had brought these products to Swaraj’s attention and sought action against Amazon Canada. In a stern tweet, Swaraj had told Amazon Canada that products “insulting our national flag” should be withdrawn immediately. She had also directed the Indian High Commission in Canada to take up the matter with Amazon “at the highest level”.