The Shiromani Akali Dal sent a legal notice to e-retailing giant Amazon for selling products allegedly hurting Sikh sentiments on its platform.
SAD leader and Delhi MLA Manjinder S Sirsa, who is also the general secretary of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, sent the notice to Amazon complaining against the sale of products such as doormats, rugs and toilet accessories with symbols and images related to Sikhism printed on them.
Late on Tuesday night, the MLA tweeted: “Dear @amazonIN Sheer irresponsibility on your part to allow such anti-India stuff on your website!! I demand immediate banning of iPrint company for marketing doormats with Darbar Sahib image. This is a deliberate attempt to hurt Sikh sentiments.”
He also urged his followers to retweet his post to get Amazon banned.
Sheer irresponsibility on your part to allow such anti-India stuff on your website!!
I demand immediate banning of iPrint company for marketing doormats with Darbar Sahib image. This is a deliberate attempt to hurt Sikh sentiments
RT to get this company banned pic.twitter.com/Vcxs0kgByO
— Manjinder S Sirsa (@mssirsa) December 18, 2018
In a subsequent tweet, Sirsa said that the products “are no less that blasphemy”.
“Even the description writes words “Holy Shrine” and your web portal still allows them to be marketed/sold!!! I warn Amazon to immediately withdraw such products and ban the sellers or be ready for a worldwide protest,” he wrote.
Even the description writes words “Holy Shrine” and your web portal still allows them to be marketed/sold!!!
I warn Amazon to immediately withdraw such products and ban the sellers or be ready for a worldwide protest pic.twitter.com/AhUu14xTa6
— Manjinder S Sirsa (@mssirsa) December 19, 2018
Besides Sirsa, the online retail giant Amazon has been slammed by several Sikh bodies for selling such products.
Prominent community body in the US, the Sikh Coalition, said in a statement on Tuesday that it was alerted to Amazon selling doormats, rugs and toilet seat covers with the image of Golden Temple.
“It has come to our attention that several sellers are posting products onto your platform that culturally appropriate the imagery of the Golden Temple and spiritual imagery of other eastern cultures,” The Sikh Coalition’s Senior Manager of Advocacy & Policy Sim Singh said in a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Senior Vice President & General Counsel David Zapolsky.
The civil rights organisation said it “immediately contacted Amazon to remove the products while detailing the culturally insensitive problems with the items being sold and the offensive message it sent to Sikhs around the world”.
“The Golden Temple is not a doormat,” it tweeted, adding that in the hours since, through community outreach, several pages had been removed from the Amazon portal.
We immediately reached out to @amazon to remove the products, detailing the problems & offensive message it sends to Sikhs around the world. While several products have been removed since, there are still a few remaining – send a message to Amazon now: https://t.co/T5kBulGui2 https://t.co/rFy9IuOQMR
— Sikh Coalition (@sikh_coalition) December 18, 2018
Another group, NGO United Sikhs, issued a statement calling on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to do the same and said it had received “numerous complaints” from members of the community about the products.
Some of the items had been removed from the website on Wednesday, but the Golden Temple toilet accessories remained available, the group said.
The group offered “Sikh awareness training” in “an effort to educate Amazon’s staff and prevent anti-Sikh products from being sold on the site in the future”.
It also “reached out to the manufacturers of the merchandise to demand their production to be ceased immediately”.
(With inputs from agencies.)