At the beginning of 2017, American e-commerce giant, Amazon.com had sparked a huge uproar when their Canadian branch, Amazon Canada came under fire for selling doormats with Indian National Flag picture printed on it. Indians reacted strongly against the online company and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also issued a threat of revoking visas of Amazon employees if the controversial products were not removed from its Canadian website along with a written apology from Amazon for hurting Indians’ sentiments. But it looks like that was not all for Amazon as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government further took the US-based company to task over insulting flag doormat in a private yet strong manner. ALSO READ: Indian Flag underwear, shoes, slippers available on Amazon & CafePress! Sushma Swaraj to help ban these 6 products insulting the National Flag?
Amazon Canada drew the ire of social media when they sold the customized Indian flag doormats. The insult of National Indian flag was not taken lightly by the countrymen including the higher authority of Narendra Modi’s government. While we saw Sushma Swaraj’s swift action against Amazon after the matter was brought to her notice by the Twitter users, it is now reported that the issue was further escalated asking its US and Canadian embassies to raise the matter “strongly” with Amazon’s senior leadership.
As per reports, a document seen by Reuters shows the government went even further in private, asking its US and Canadian embassies to raise the matter “strongly” with Amazon’s senior leadership. According to the document, India escalated the matter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and prompted a global audit by the company to “ensure that such products are not listed on any of its other” websites around the world.
E-commerce website Amazon was not only guilty of selling doormats bearing Indian National Flag but also other products which used the national emblem on slippers, etc. They sold products by third-party vendors like CafePress on their websites. According to the document, Amazon has now made Indian laws that govern the use of the national flag and other emblems “an integral part of the global compliance process,” and also strengthened its in-house compliance units that monitor products sold by third-party vendors on its websites.
When Sushma Swaraj threatened Amazon of nullifying the visas of their employees working in the country and also revoking the new ones, Amazon had removed the products within 24 hours and apologised to the government. And now the reports of India’s further probing the matter reflects the risks posing for businesses around the world from governments run by nationalist leaders. Not just Narendra Modi government, United States current President, Donald Trump has also taken an aggressive stance on Twitter against individual companies.