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London footwear firm apologises for offending Hindu sentiments

Press Trust of India, India
July 16, 2004 • Monday July 19, 2004

London, July 16 (PTI) A leading footwear company of London, which displayed the sacred ‘Om’ symbol on its sandals, has apologized to Hindus and withdrawn the sale of the product after the community members protested against the “insensitive” depiction.

“I take this opportunity to apologise on behalf of Lacey’s Footwear for any offence or hurt the design on the sandal has caused to any member of the Hindu community,” Michael Ridgway of Lacey said in a statement here last night.

“We were completely unaware that the design could be read as a mirror image of the symbol OM. However, in view of the serious nature of the Hindu Forum’s comments, we are acting immediately to withdraw this shoe from sale forth- worth.” Ramesh Kalidai, Secretary General of the Hindu Forum of Britain said: “The symbol represents a manifestation of God and it is considered deeply offensive for people to step on it with their foot.

“Hindus in Britain and around the world are shocked that a sacred symbol is being used in such an insensitive manner. Hence we immediately requested Lacey’s to withdraw the shoe and issue a public apology.” “One of our devotees spotted it at a shoe shop in the Shepherds Bush Market and immediately brought it to the attention of the Hindu Forum,” said Swami Nirliptananda, Secretary of the London Sevashram Sangha.

“There was hardly any need to use our sacred symbol which would not have any meaning to the customers unless this is a deliberate insult of our religion.”

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