Complaint against Papon for kissing minor contestant of reality show
Mumbai: Singer Papon has landed in trouble after a complaint was filed against him for allegedly harassing a minor contestant of a reality TV show.
However, the child's father termed the incident "a moment of affection" saying the singer is a "father figure" to his daughter.
A video has gone viral in which Papon is seen celebrating Holi with the contestants of "Voice India Kids" and planting a kiss on the girl's face. Papon is one of the judges on the show along with fellow singers Shaan and Himmesh Reshammiya.
Supreme Court lawyer Runa Bhuyan filed the complaint with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights against Papon under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) Act.
Papon could not be immediately reached for a reaction but his lawyer, Gaurang Kanth told a news channel, "If my client had any objection or intention, then he would not be putting something against him and uploading it in public domain. Once it has been uploaded in public domain, the information is there. A lawyer has decided to lodge a complaint. It has been done, unfortunately, without doing any homework.
"This sort of complaint also puts the family, the girl in lot of trauma. This is something that could have easily been avoided."
Kanth said one cannot level such charges without "corroborative evidence or verified the source."
The channel &TV issued a statement saying it will extend full support to all affected parties.
"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 statement read.
The girl's father also issued a statement what was seen in the video was 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," he said.
He further said that Papon is a mentor and a father figure to his daughter and has always encouraged her to pursue her dreams.
"He doesn't differentiate among the children who are here and gives them equal guidance on pursuing their dreams," he said.
"What you saw in the video is not intentional. ," the concerned contestant's father said in a statement.