Amazon Canada removes doormats with Indian flag after protests | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Amazon Canada removes doormats with Indian flag after protests

Listings for doormats emblazoned with the Indian flag were removed from Amazon’s Canadian site after protests by people of Indian origin and the Overseas Friends of the BJP.

world Updated: Jan 05, 2017 17:29 IST
HT Correspondent
IScreen grab of the listing for Indian-flag themed doormats on Amazon’s Canadian site.
IScreen grab of the listing for Indian-flag themed doormats on Amazon’s Canadian site. (Courtesy Ratnesh Mishra)

Listings for Indian flag-themed doormats on global etailer Amazon’s Canadian site were removed after a series of protests by people from India and of Indian-origin.

In recent days, people from India found the unwelcome sight of the doormats when they visited the website.

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.

XLYL also lists similar doormats featuring the flags of countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States.

The troubling listings for the doormat with the Indian flag were posted on Facebook by Phoenix-based Ratnesh Mishra.

The presence of the product irked some Indian-origin browsers, and a few started a social media campaign targeting Amazon for allowing the product online.

Among them was Mishra, who said a similar incident had occurred in the summer of 2016. “This is really pathetic and (due to the) ignorance of such a big e-commerce organisation. This is not first time we have fought against them,” he said.

Screen grab of a listing by the same vendor on Amazon’s Canadian site for a UK flag-themed doormat. (Amazon)

The Canadian chapter of the Overseas Friends of the BJP was among the critics, and it said in a social media post that it “condemns insult of the Indian flag”.

“No business should engage in denigration of the flag of any country. The Amazon business group should apologise and withdraw the product that denigrates Indian flag. Otherwise, people will reject Amazon for hurting their sentiments and engaging in unethical business practices,” it said.

Prabhat Joshi, who said he was offended by the listing, messaged the seller to complain: “For Indians, having (a) national flag on the doormat is an insult. Indian flags are hoisted with highest respect.”

Screen grab of a listing by the same vendor on Amazon’s Canadian site for a US flag-themed doormat. (Amazon)

The vendor, identified as Hana Houdek, responded to the requests and removed the listings, which no longer appear on Amazon.ca’s searches.

Meanwhile, those like Mishra aren’t satisfied with the response. He has sought an “assurance” from Amazon that “this will never happen again”.