NEW DELHI – Flip flops bearing the face of India’s independence icon Mahatma Gandhi have been removed from sale on Amazon after they caused anger in India.
The row comes days after the online US retailer apologized for selling doormats featuring the Indian flag.
Desecration of the flag is punishable with fines and imprisonment in India.
On Wednesday, India had demanded Amazon apologise for selling “insulting” doormats featuring India’s national flag, with Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj warning of tough action against the company.
“As a follow up to the matter regarding the sale of doormats with the Indian flag on Amazon, our 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,” Vikas Swarup said, NDTV reported.
Gandhi, who campaigned for independence from Britain, is widely revered and known as the Father of the Nation.
The latest posting on the Amazon says, “CafePress – gandhi Flip Flops – Flip Flops, Funny Thong Sandles, Beach Sandles” with a listed price of $16.99.
The flip-flops are described on the website as “professionally printed” and a product that “will look great and make someone smile”.
Angry Indians took to Twitter, complaining that the beach sandals with Gandhi’s image were being sold on the Amazon US site.
— Shrikant Raskar (@RaskarShrikant) January 15, 2017
Now Amazon insult #gandhi featuring him on slipper, now where the hell are opposing who 2 days before raised issue of modi calender. Idiots
— santosh singh (@santy_yy143) January 15, 2017
Now that Modi is replacing Gandhi Ji, why not in those Amazon Slippers 😂🙊🙈
— Sowmya (@SoGe89) January 15, 2017
— #Intolerant भारतीय (@goyalsanjeev) January 14, 2017
WTH …. After Indian Flag Doormats now Amazon US has Flip Flops with Gandhi Image .. DISGUSTING .. SAD n SHAME .. father of nation … pic.twitter.com/cve9JXQSi2
— RJ ALOK (@OYERJALOK) January 14, 2017
Amazon has made steady inroads in India, with plans to invest US$5 billion in the country. Last June the retail giant found itself in a similar controversy over sales of doormats illustrating Hindu gods.
Amazon has not commented on the latest controversy over the flip flops but the product had been removed from its US site on Sunday.
Amazon is also locked in a fierce battle with Flipkart, India’s biggest online retailer, over market share.