The Noida Police, on Friday, registered an FIR against e-commerce giant Amazon for hurting Hindu sentiments by selling merchandise including rugs and toilet seat covers with images of Hindu gods through its US website. Circle Officer, Noida 2nd, Piyush Kumar Singh said that the FIR has been registered under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code — “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.”
Several social media users had started an online campaign, “boycott Amazon”, over the issue. An Amazon spokesperson was quoted as saying that all sellers must follow the company’s selling guidelines and those who do not comply will be subject to action, including potential removal of their account. The spokesperson has also added that the products in question were being removed from their store. Complainant Vikas Mishra told NDTV, “The foreign-based company regularly puts up products on its website which hurts the sentiments of Hindus. This may lead to communal tension in our country anytime. Hence, it’s a request to take strict action against the company so that such incidents are not repeated and Hindus can live with their pride and dignity peacefully”.
This is the third time that Amazon has run into trouble for hurting religious and nationalistic sentiments of Indians. In 2017, Amazon Canada faced the heat for selling doormats with Indian National Flag imprinted on it. Again in 2018, there was a strong reaction from the Sikhs after it was found that doormats, rugs and toilet seat covers with the image of Golden Temple were reportedly being sold on Amazon. Several complaints were received by the External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj in 2017 about the e-commerce giant selling flip-flops with Mahatma Gandhi’s image.