Singer Papon faces the music, and complaint, for kissing minor

Papon, 42, put out a statement on Facebook, stating that if he was guilty, he would not have the video on his Facebook page. But, he added, “this is not to say I haven’t made a mistake”.

A complaint under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was filed on Friday against playback singer and frontman of electronic folk fusion band Angarag Papon Mahanta for allegedly molesting a minor in a TV reality show in which he is one of the judges. Supreme Court lawyer Runa Bhuyan, who found the incident “objectionable”, filed a complaint with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. The incident occurred after shooting of the reality show’s Holi episode, and the video was live on Facebook. Papon, 42, put out a statement on Facebook, stating that if he was guilty, he would not have the video on his Facebook page. But, he added, “this is not to say I haven’t made a mistake”.

In the complaint, Bhuyan states: “I am shocked to see the behaviour of the said singer…where he is seen to be applying colours on a minor girl and inappropriately kissing the said girl. On seeing the video, I am seriously concerned regarding the safety and security of minor girl(s) participating in reality shows across India.”

The child’s father supported Papon, calling the singer a “father figure” to his daughter. “It was just a moment of affection that is being portrayed otherwise…. What you saw in the video is not intentional,” he said in a statement, according to PTI.

Papon posted on Facebook: “Anyone who knows me would be aware that I am an extremely affectionate and expressive person…. Please do remember that it is a video on my own facebook live and…at least wonder why I would myself promote a video where I am ‘apparently’ doing all the unmentionable things I am being accused of.” He also stated, “I might have done it spontaneously but in today’s environment, to touch a girl child, however innocent your thoughts are, is not advisable. I am sorry for that…”

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a few colleagues from the music industry hinted that alcohol or marijuana consumption could be responsible for Papon’s reaction, and that he perhaps did not realise it could blow up so big.Singer Sona Mohapatra, a close associate, said she believes Papon was innocent in his intent but the video is not in good taste. “Papon possibly should have been more aware of how this looks to a layman,” she said. “A formality and distance in such a space would have been better…maybe boundaries should be maintained. Still I think the man is innocent — he just needs to be wiser.”Subir Malik, lead keyboard player of Parikrama, said, “If he has done it, it’s shameful, but if he hasn’t, then no one can take back the disgusting things being said about him.”In Assam, Papon Fan Club (Paponist) lodged an FIR at Dispur police station against 40 social media accounts for allegedly trying to defame the artiste as part of a “planned”

controversy.

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