Supreme Court advocate Runa Bhuyan on Friday filed a complaint against popular singer Papon for allegedly "inappropriately kissing a minor girl" who is a contestant on reality TV show, Voice of India Kids 2018. The incident, according to &TV, which airs the show, happened on 20 February in Mumbai.
The complainant – in a letter addressed to the chairperson of the National Commission For Protection of Child Rights – alleged that a viral video featuring Papon “has objectionable contents violating bodily integrity amounting into sexual assault on a minor girl”.
The video has been shot on a van. Participants of the reality show – of which Papon is a jury member – are seen playing Holi. He is captured on the video applying colours on a minor girl, and then kissing her. The girl is from Udmari village, near Kalaigaon in Assam. Her father’s name is Jitu Moni Saharia.
The singer was booked under the POCSO Act.
The reality show is aired on &TV and available for streaming online on Zee5, a subsidiary of the Zee TV.
Papon’s Behaviour ‘Shocking’
In a two-page letter, the complainant alleged that “not a single female member of the crew is seen to be present on the van”. Here is a copy of the letter:
Papon’s Manager Issues a Statement
Partha Gogoi, Papon’s manager, told a local website Guwahati Plus, “The act was not meant to hurt the sentiments of any individual, and that it was not wrong in any manner, which is why they see no reason to pull down the video from the official Facebook page of Papon.”
Papon’s Lawyer Responds
Papon's lawyer Gaurang Narang said in a telecon to India Today: "A person will not put anything against him on public domain for anybody to pick it up and make it a complaint. It is very unfortunate, that a lawyer who has done this - maybe it is her mindset. But the fact remains that this kind of compassion, affection should not be constitute. The singer is quiet disturbed by the whole incident."
He also referred to a statement that has been issued by minor's father. He emphasises that it states that "don't malign the relationship between a guru and a shishya."
Papon Fan Club Registers FIR for Defaming the Artist
According to Guwahati Plus, a fan club of Papon’s has registered a FIR against 40 social media account holders for defaming the artist and condemning his act when the kissing video went viral. The FIR was filed on 22 February at the Dispur police station.
We've received complaint. We're examining it, soon we'll issue notice to the concerned state govt. Prima facie it seems to be a violation of POCSO Act: Priyank Kanungo, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights on #Papon allegedly 'inappropriately kissing a minor girl' pic.twitter.com/W41IZso1H8— ANI (@ANI) February 23, 2018
&TV Issues An Official Statement
We as a channel have always been focused on the safety, security and well-being of the contestants participating in our shows. We have always adhered to the NCPCR guidelines and our production house, Essel Vision Productions Limited has taken all precautionary measures required under NCPCR and other laws. We believe in nurturing talent with utmost sensitivity and care while we provide them the platform to showcase their aptitude. As a responsible channel, we are extending complete support to all parties who are impacted by this incident and will stand by them to help them through this situation.
The Minor’s Father Defends Papon "“Papon sir is a mentor and a father figure to my daughter and has always encouraged her to pursue her dreams. He doesn’t differentiate amongst the children who are here and gives them equal guidance on pursuing their dreams. What you saw in the video is not intentional. It was just a moment of affection that is being portrayed otherwise. I would request and urge the media to not pursue this further.”" - Minor’s fatherPapon Posts a Statement on Facebook Clarifying his Position
I am very painfully conscious of the accusations that have been made against me in the last few days. Anyone who knows me would be aware that I am an extremely affectionate and expressive person. That is the way I have been brought up and that’s how I have always been with people close to me or people I care about. To show affection for an 11 year old child who I have been mentoring for a while now is not an alien concept for me. Please do remember that it a video on my own facebook live and stop for a moment and at least wonder why I would myself promote a video where I am ‘apparently’ doing all the unmentionable things that I am being accused of.
I am very painfully conscious of the accusations that have been made against me in the last few days. Anyone who knows...Posted by Papon on Friday, February 23, 2018
Child Rights Body Issues Notice to Papon
According to a report by IANS, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Friday issued notice to both singer Papon and a TV entertainment channel after a video emerged of the singer inappropriately kissing a minor girl, an official said.
"We have seen the video and have gone through the written complaint which came to us from Supreme Court lawyer Runa Bhuyan. We felt this is a provocative case. Necessary legal action will be taken," the official added.
In a video that went viral on social media, Papon is seen celebrating Holi with the contestants of the singing reality show "The Voice India Kids". The artiste, who is also one of the judges on the show, can be seen planting a kiss on the girl's lips.
"We are following the legal procedure. We will ask for their version as well and accordingly, further action will be taken. We have guidelines on our website which clearly mentions rules for channels using children in their show," the official stated.
(The Quint, in association with BitGiving, has launched a crowdfunding campaign for an 8-month-old who was raped in Delhi on 28 January 2018. The baby girl, who we will refer to as 'Chhutki', was allegedly raped by her 28-year-old cousin when her parents were away. She has been discharged from AIIMS hospital after undergoing three surgeries, but needs more medical treatment in order to heal completely. Her parents hail from a low-income group and have stopped going to work so that they can take care of the baby. You can help cover Chhutki's medical expenses and secure her future. Every little bit counts. Click here to donate.)
. Read more on Celebrities by The Quint.QBengaluru: IISc Scientist Denies Water Crisis; BIFFES Draws CrowdShowing Affection to My 11-Yr-Old Mentee Is Not Alien to Me: Papon . Read more on Celebrities by The Quint.