India: Amazon Removes Flag Doormat After Visa Cancellation Threat

Online retailer Amazon has removed a doormat depicting the Indian flag after the country’s external affairs minister said it would revoke visas from the company’s employees if it continued to appear on the store. The product, which was being sold on Amazon Canada, was removed after a tweet from Sushma Swaraj, India’s external affairs minister.

Sushma Swaraj asked Amazon to withdraw all products insulting their national flag immediately. The external affairs minister reportedly found out about the product after another user told her about it. She also demanded an unconditional apology from Amazon.

The Indian flag doormats, which were being sold by a third party, were removed from Amazon Canada on Wednesday. A spokesman for the online retailer confirmed the news by saying that the item was no longer for sale on the site. Before the news, Sushma Swaraj said that if the product was not removed, they would not grant an Indian visa to any Amazon official. She added that they would also cancel the visas that have already been issued.

Sushma Swaraj has millions of followers on Twitter and is known for helping and responding to questions sent by the users. Her first tweet about the product was retweeted and liked by thousands of people shortly after it was posted.

Amazon, which debuted its India marketplace three years ago, sells thousands of products in India. The product, which was removed earlier today, was not being sold in India but in the Amazon Canada marketplace. The rectangular doormat with the Indian national flag printed on the front is no longer being sold by the online retailer. In July 2016, Amazon also received criticism from users in India for selling doormats with religious figures. People complained about the doormats on social media and it was announced shortly after that the online retailer had removed them from their site.