May 16, 2019 / 12:10 PM / 2 months ago

Amazon faces backlash in India for selling shoes, rugs with images of Hindu gods

MUMBAI, May 16 (Reuters) - Amazon.com faced a social media backlash in India on Thursday after toilet seat covers and other items with images of Hindu gods were spotted on the U.S. retailer’s website, making #BoycottAmazon the country’s top trending topic on Twitter.

Thousands of Twitter users backed the call for the boycott, with some tagging Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and urging her to take action against the world’s biggest online retailer.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The episode is reminiscent of an incident in 2017 when New Delhi took the Seattle, Washington-based company to task after its Canadian website was spotted selling doormats resembling India’s flag.

Swaraj at the time threatened to rescind visas of Amazon employees if the doormats were not removed from its site.

Reuters found several listings of toilet seat covers, yoga mats, sneakers, rugs and other items depicting Hindu gods, or sacred Hindu symbols, on Amazon’s U.S. website.

Some of the items were no longer available for purchase, suggesting that Amazon may have been withdrawing some of the items, as it did in 2017.

“Until you hit these Hinduphobics Business hard they will keep on insulting your gods, your beliefs & your entire civilization,” tweeted Sumit Kandel, whose profile describes him as a film trade analyst. (Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Mark Potter)

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