A few days after the e-commerce giant, Amazon apologised for “offending” Indian sentiments by selling tri-color doormats with the feature image of the Indian National flag on its online shopping giant Amazon.com Inc (Canadian website), after heated warning to the company by Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Now this time, on its US portal, Amazon has put up another listing of sandals/flip flops with Mahatma Gandhi’s face printed on it, as graphic flip-flops. Once again degrading the country’s symbol, Amazon had listed the slippers called, ‘Gandhi Flip Flops’, for sale at $16.99 or about Rs 1,190.
Some Twitter users have highlighted the issue, in their tweets complaining that the
sports flip flops (or beach sandals) with the face of Mahatma Gandhi, were being sold on the e-commerce giant, Amazon US website. Users also tagged Ministry of External Affairs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj. Describing the ‘Gandhi flip flops’ as pair of “foam rubber flip flops”, the slippers cost $16.99 (£14) or around Rs 1,190.
The Gandhi flip flops been sold by CafePress on Amazon.com costs $16.99 (£14), which translates to around Rs 1,190. In the product description, the brand claims, “Our graphic flip flop sandal designs are professionally printed, so your unique design will look great and make someone smile with the funny, cute, vintage, or expressive artwork.”
On January 11, Wednesday,after received a complaint about Amazon Canada selling doormats depicting Indian flag on its site, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had reacted sharply and asked e-commerce giant Amazon to withdraw the products and tender an unconditional apology. “If this is not done forthwith, we will not grant Indian Visa to any Amazon official. We will also rescind the Visas issued earlier,” she tweeted. Under India’s law, any desecration of the flag is punishable with fines and imprisonment. Then Amazon was quick to respond and had removed the same.
Mahatma Gandhi, who campaigned for independence from Britain, is widely revered and known as the Father of the Nation. In the wake of the matter regarding the sale of Mahatma Gandhi’s face printed flip-flops being sold on Amazon website, the Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday said the company (Amazon US) should respect Indian feelings, sensitiveness and sentiments.
A foreign ministry spokesman was quoted as saying.
“The country’s ambassador in Washington has been instructed to convey to Amazon that while providing a platform for third-party vendors, they should respect Indian sensitivities and sentiments,” said MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup.
Several people left comments on the Customer Reviews board beneath the Amazon listing condemning the sale of the sandals.
“Shameless Amazon first it was Indian flag and now Mahatma Gandhi looks like Jeff Bezos is losing his mind,” wrote an anonymous user.
Amazon has not reacted on the latest controversy over the flip-flops issue. The products were still available to buy on Sunday morning, but a few hours later the offending sandals had been removed from its US site on Sunday.