India Threatens to Cancel Amazon Employees’ Visas over Indian Flag Doormats

India has threatened to cancel Amazon employees’ visas if the online retailer continues to sell doormats with the country’s flag featured.

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj issued the threat Wednesday via Twitter, saying that if the product was not removed from Amazon Canada’s website, she would deny visas to Amazon employees and “rescind the visas issued earlier”:

“Amazon must tender unconditional apology,” she said. “They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately.”

Swaraj called the product “unacceptable” and asked the Indian High Commission in Canada to take the issue with Amazon up to “the highest level.”

Amazon representatives in the United States did not immediately comment on the matter, but a company spokeswoman from India said they needed “time to assess and respond,” CNN reported.

Amazon’s customer service team also addressed the issue on one of its Twitter accounts, saying Amazon’s India site never sold the products.

“We have escalated this to our concerned teams and are working on the issue,” the tweet said.

The doormats of the flag had outraged many people on Amazon’s Canada site, with many people giving the product negative reviews and one-star ratings.

“You cannot insult a national flag of India by making a doormat of it,” said one user. “Delete this listing immediately.”

It is considered disrespectful in India for the national flag to touch the ground or be printed on clothing or furniture.

A spokesman for India’s Foreign Ministry said Amazon had already removed the listing.

“Our Mission in Ottawa took up the matter with Amazon Canada,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Vikas Swarup told the Toronto Star. “They are no longer selling that item.”


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