Following an Indian government threat to cancel visas of the U.S. company’s employees if they did not halt the sale of doormats resembling the Indian tri-color flag, Amazon.com took away the product from its Canadian website on Wednesday.
“Amazon must tender an unconditional apology. They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately.” India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Twitter.
She added that if the apology is not done forthwith, India will not grant visas to any Amazon official. “We will also rescind the Visas issued earlier.”
The doormat was removed late on Wednesday. It was sold by a third-party on Amazon’s Canadian portal.
In an email, a spokeswoman for Amazon said, “The item is no longer available for sale on the site.”
Amazon’s website in Canada peddles doormats patterned around other national flags. However, under Indian law, any defilement of its flag is punishable by fines and imprisonment.
Earlier, Amazon’s official support account on Twitter had acted on furious user remarks on Twitter by saying the mats were not being retailed on their Indian portal and the matters had been escalated.
After the matter was brought to her attention by a Twitter user from India’s financial capital of Mumbai, Swaraj tweeted that she had requested the Indian High Commission in Canada to raise the issue with Amazon.
Swaraj is a profuse user of the social media website and often replies to tweets addressed to her.
$5 Billion investment in India
Amazon is making a big bet on India and has pledged to invest more than $5 billion as it vies with home-grown Snapdeal and Flipkart for a larger share of the world’s fastest growing internet services market.
Last year, Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said India was the company’s fastest-growing region in an occasion in Washington. Indian premier Narendra Modi graced the event.