In terms of market capitalization and total sales, Amazon.com is head and shoulders above the largest internet-based retailer. One of its biggest draws for online shoppers is that just about anything can be bought and sold on its e-commerce platform. And boy do they sell; even television sets thought to be endangered by mobile viewing devices and streaming still gets good business on Amazon. But apparently, one item in its marketplace has gone too far according to the Republic of India. It’s an innocuous doormat to the rest of the world, but for India, having their national flag imprinted on that particular variant of throw rug was enough for them to explode in indignation.

‘Flags’ for doormats

News of the India flag doormat for sale on Amazon has gotten the foreign minister Sushma Swaraj up in arms, slamming the online retailer on her personal Twitter account. Here she issued directives to the Indian High Commission in Canada, as the offending mat and its variants with other national flags were third-party products available on Amazon’s Canadian portal. Minister Sushma insisted that the e-commerce giant must issue her government an unconditional apology, along with an immediate removal of the India doormat from their marketplace, saying their very existence is an insult to their country’s national flag. Failure to do so on time, she warned, would have their government immediately rescind all existing Indian visas issued to Amazon officials and employees, as well as barring them from new ones in the future.

India patriotism has gone up to eleven

What other countries think is an overkill reaction is the deadly serious business of India. Born out of increasingly hostile relations with perennial rival Pakistan, the country has adopted a series of borderline extremist patriotism measures geared towards making Indian citizens give mandatory respect and reverence to the flag and all national symbols, with harsh penalties attached.

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For example, the Indian government once censured a Bollywood actress who spoke positively of Pakistani cinema. When theater audiences were required to stand for the national anthem, those who remained seated tended to get beaten up and arrested, even if they were wheelchair-bound.

Amazon complies

Apparently, Amazon didn’t need to be told twice.

As of Wednesday, January 11, the India doormat was removed from the website, as confirmed via email by a spokeswoman for Amazon. No further comment on Minister Swaraj’s statement was given by senior officials of the online retailer. But it’s not like such a flub is anything new for Amazon. Run-DMC sued them and Walmart too last December 2016 for selling apparel with the group’s name without a by-your-leave.