Amazon.com is facing major backlash because of bathroom rugs, toilet seat covers and mats with images of the Golden Temple, the holy shrine of the Sikhs, being sold on the United States retailer’s website.
The Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) sent a legal notice to Amazon on Saturday, Jan 11, 2020. SGPC president Gobind Singh said that this is an instance of blasphemy and therefore strong action must be taken against the company. The e-retailer is facing backlash at twitter with numerous users calling for boycott of Amazon using a #BoycottAmazon hashtag being the top trending topic in the country. Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) Chief Manjinder Singh Sirsa filed FIR against the company. He said that Amazon was displaying “recklessness towards Sikh Sentiments” in his tweet.
In May 2019, in a similar case, Indian Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj was also tagged in certain tweets after which she threatened to rescind the visas of Amazon employees if the articles were not removed from the website.
In 2016, bathroom mats, toilet seats, shoes and dog tags with images of Hindu deities were displayed on the retail website following the #BoycottAmazon hashtag started trending for the first time on twitter, after people in India found out about it.
This move can be considered blasphemous and the question arises whether the same image of Christ or any symbol of Islam would be used in such a way. Freedom of expression has to be exercised in accordance with the reasonable restrictions imposed upon it and such a move is clearly insensitive.
Author: Nandini Gandhi