Amazon writes to Swaraj, regrets sale of ‘offending’ tricolour-themed doormats

Etailer Amazon India has written to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and expressed regret for the sale of ‘offending’ tricolour-themed doormats, MEA spokesperson tweeted on Thursday.

Vikas Swarup, the ministry spokesperson, said Amit Agarwal, vice-president and country manager of Amazon India, said the company did not intend or mean to offend Indian sentiments.

The letter said Amazon remains “steadfastly committed to India”, and refered to its CEO Jeff Bezo’s announcement to invest $5 billion in India.

It said Amazon values “immensely” its relationship with the Indian government, the country’s entrepreneurs and innovators, Indian customers and employees.
Listings for Indian flag-themed doormats on Amazon’s Canadian site were removed after a series of protests by people from India and of Indian-origin.

The doormats were described as “Personalised Durable Machine-Washable Indoor/Outdoor” items and featured a stylised version of the tricolour. They were available on Amazon.ca’s marketplace from the vendor XLYL.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Swaraj had described the doormats as “unacceptable” after the matter was brought to her notice on Twitter. She warned that Amazon officials would not be given Indian visas and visas granted earlier would be rescinded if the e-tailer did not withdraw the product and apologise.

“Amazon must tender unconditional apology. They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately,” tweeted Swaraj, one of the most active Indian ministers on Twitter with nearly 7 million followers.

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