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US company withdraws shoes carrying images of Hindu deities

Designer shoes carrying pictures of Hindu deities were withdrawn from sales in the US after an outcry by the Indian community.

Washington: Designer shoes carrying
pictures of Hindu deities were withdrawn from sales in the US
after an outcry by the Indian community.

The American company, which had launched the shoes
named after guitar legend late Jimi Hendrix, apologised to the
Hindu community and immediately withdrew from the market its
special designer shoes.

"We apologise for the unintentional offence and have
decided to immediately discontinue the sales of the Jimi
Hendrix/Axis shoes," said Jessica, a spokeswoman for the
company. The shoes carried images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.

The Converse shoe company launched its new range of
shoes to commemorate the memory of Rockstar Jimi Hendrix by
introducing shoes, which carried the cover of his record
breaking album 1967 "Axis: Bold as Love".

A Houston-based woman Beth Kulkarni raised the issue
with the shoe company last week and the company sent its
apologies to her via email. The company responded, saying it
was an unintentional mistake on their part.

"As a Hindu, I am very much offended by the use of
pictures of Hindu deities on Converse shoes. Hindus in general
find this very offencive. To avoid further hurting the
sentiments of Hindus world-wide, I request that these shoes be
removed from the market effective immediately," Kulkarni wrote
in three emails to the Converse shoe company.

"Converse designed the Converse Chuck Taylor Jimi
Hendrix/Axis shoe to demonstrate our support of music culture
and to celebrate the contributions of the global music icon,
Jimi Hendrix," Jessica said in her email response yesterday.

"With approval of the Hendrix estate, we applied
artwork taken directly from the 1967 "Axis: Bold as Love"
album cover. The cover art included images of Hindu deities.
Our ambitions were to honor the music of Jimi Hendrix. It was
not our intent to offend Hindu culture by having Hindu deities
on footwear," Jessica wrote.

Houston-based Vijay Pallod said when he called the
company, he was informed that the company has withdrawn all
such shoes from the market.

"When I heard about these shoes, my immediate concern
was to express my own feelings and request for action and also
indicate that many other Hindus also would feel as I did. I am
sure other Hindus did likewise," Kulkarni said.


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