MP cops file FIR against sellers over tricolour-themed products on Amazon


PTI, Jan 25, 2022, 8:50 PM IST

Bhopal: Police on Tuesday evening registered an FIR in Bhopal against unidentified sellers on e-commerce giant Amazon after it emerged that some products, including shoes, featuring images of the Indian flag were being sold on its platform in contravention of rules, an official said.

The action came hours after Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said the government has directed the police to register an FIR against officials of Amazon and its owner for allegedly selling products with images or imprints of the tricolour on them.

Amazon faced the ire of a section of Indian social media users over merchandising some products, including apparel and food items, that feature images of the Indian flag, with some saying that using the tricolour in such a way was an insult and a violation of the country’s flag code.

”It has come to my notice that our national flag is being used on products being sold by the online e-commerce platform Amazon. It (the national flag) has been used on shoes… this can not be tolerated,” Mishra, who is the state government spokesman, told reporters here. Prima facie, it is a violation of the National Flag Code, he said.

”I have directed the Director-General of Police (DGP) to file an FIR against Amazon’s officials and owner,” Mishra added.

In the evening, Bhopal police’s Crime Branch registered a case against unidentified sellers on the Amazon platform on the basis of a complaint filed by a city resident.

“Following a complaint, Bhopal’s Crime Branch has registered an FIR under section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour (Amendment) Act and section 505 (2) of the Indian Penal Code (related to public mischief) against unidentified sellers on Amazon and taking further steps,” Bhopal Police Commissioner Makrand Deuskar told PTI.

The FIR, quoting the 26-year-old complainant, said the unidentified sellers have posted products, including T-shirts, mugs and shoes with the national flag printed on them on Amazon, which has hurt the sentiments of countrymen and insulted the tricolour.

This is not the first time that the MP home minister has directed the police to take legal action against Amazon.

Last November, Mishra had ordered the filing of an FIR against officials of Amazon over the suicide of a youth from MP who allegedly obtained poisonous sulphas (used as an agricultural fumigant and is poisonous) tablets through the e-commerce site.

In another instance, the police in Bhind district had registered an FIR against unnamed officials of Amazon India after busting a gang that allegedly supplied ganja under the guise of selling stevia (a natural sweetener) through the e-commerce portal. Amazon had on Monday said it remains committed to take necessary action against sellers who may have listed any non-compliant products.

Amazon.in is an online marketplace where third-party sellers offer products for sale directly to customers, and as such is responsible for ensuring compliances associated with the sale of these products, it said.

”We require all products offered on the marketplace to comply with applicable laws and constantly take appropriate action on non-compliance. Amazon remains committed to taking necessary action against sellers who may have listed any non-compliant products,” the company said.

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