India threatens to block visas for Amazon over flag doormats

NEW DELHI, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- An Indian government official has barred travel to the country for officials at Amazon.com unless they apologize for selling products that are disparaging to the nation.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was informed recently that the Amazon Canada website is selling doormats featuring India's flag. As a result, she said no travel visas will be granted to members of the company.

"Amazon must tender unconditional apology. They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately," Swaraj said in a tweet. "If this is not done forthwith, we will not grant Indian Visa to any Amazon official. We will also rescind the Visas issued earlier."

Swaraj, who learned of the products by a consumer through another tweet, also appealed to the India High Commission in Canada, calling the products "unacceptable."

Amazon.ca has removed the listing for the doormat but has not yet issued an apology.

Incidentally, this is not the first time Amazon has sold products deemed offensive to India. Last year, it sold similar doormats featuring photos of Indian gods and goddesses, leading many on Twitter to advocate a boycott of the company.
Doug G. Ware


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