New Delhi, Feb 2: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs M J Akbar on Thursday said that the Indian government and the External Affairs Ministry were doing "utmost to see that our national honour and sentiments are not besmirched in any manner".
The minister was replying to a member's question about what was the government doing to see that international e-commerce sites do not dishonour the country's national symbols or hurt religious sentiments.
"This issue relates to incident that occurred with Amazon. Amazon exists in 26 countries. I will not repeat what happened, but it occurred in Canada and the US," Akbar said in his reply. The e-commerce site Amazon had last month triggered a controversy by putting up for sale doormats featuring the Indian flag. Amazon offers a variety of patriotic doormats, such as those featuring the US flag, the Canadian flag or the Union Jack.
But as per the Indian laws, the Indian Tricolour cannot be shown disrespect by laying it on the floor or trampling on it. "As soon as we got to know about this, our missions in Ottawa and Washington raised this issue at the highest possible level. The issue went to the owner of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and action was taken by Amazon," Akbar said.
"At this moment, we can be assured that this would not be repeated," the minister said, but added that there is no international treaty in place to regulate these issues. "On the issue of whether we can control these things or such instances in future, as you may be aware, there is no international treaty on this. But there are two Indian laws which protect exactly the problem that has been raised," he said.
"We as ministry and as government do our utmost to see that our national honour and sentiments are not besmirched in any manner," he added. Amazon withdrew the items following protests by the Indian government. In June 2016, Amazon had sparked another controversy by painting Hindu gods and the Holy Quran on doormats. It had to quickly remove the items from sales after protests.