A Calcutta High Court lawyer Phiroze Edulji has sent a legal notice to ‘redbubble’ - a global online marketplace for print-on-demand products – for selling bath mat, coasters, socks, leggings and shower curtains with Indian national flags, national emblem printed on it.
The company ‘redbubble’ was founded in 2006 in Melbourne, Australia, and also maintains offices in San Francisco and Berlin. The lawyer is planning to take up the matter with the Centre if ‘redbubble’ refused to remove the products, which demeans the Indian national flag and emblem.
Edulji is a lawyer at Calcutta High Court practicing since 1997 and an avid antique watch collector. Interestingly, being a Parsi he is also the Vice President of Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) in South Bengal.
Speaking to News18.com, Edulji said, “I came to know that an online portal called ‘redbubble’ is selling products like bath mat, shower curtain, socks, leggings etc bearing the photographs of our national flag and emblem. When I personally browsed through the portal, I was shocked as it was very offensive and insulting. It is also an offence under Indian laws (Prevention of Improper Use Act, 1950).”
He further said, “I immediately sent a legal notice to ‘redbubble’ and am awaiting their response. If I don’t get any response then I will raise the matter before the Department of Telecommunications at Delhi because they are the appropriate authority to look into such cases.”
“Being a member of VHP it’s my duty to protect the dignity of my motherland. I am a Parsi but at the heart of Hinduism is Zoroastrianism. Both are from the same source. There is no difference between a Hindu and a Zoroastrian. In fact, if you go through our ‘Zend-avesta’, you will find the word ‘Hindu’. This drew my attention towards RSS 12-years back and in October, 2020, I was assigned to work for VHP as its South Bengal’s Vice President,” he said while adding that he is hopeful that ‘redbubble’ will take down the products offending Indian flag and emblems soon.
In his legal notice to ‘redbubble’ – the lawyer specifically highlighted the products relating to bathmats where slippers are placed on such bathmats having the picture of the Indian National Flag.
“Further such bathmats are meant to be trampled by feet of individuals once purchased which would seriously hurt the sentiments of every citizen of the Republic of India. Further slippers placed on such bathmats are a gross affront or indignity offered to the Indian National Flag,” his legal notice to ‘redbubble’ reads.
In 2017, e-retail giant Amazon took down doormats depicting Indian flag from its Canadian website.
Then, taking strong exception to Amazon selling doormats depicting Indian flag – former external Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj intervened in the matter and warned stern action if they failed to act.