Maha women panel to quiz show producers

Mumbai : The Maharashtra State Women Rights Commission (MSWRC) today said it would question the producers of a reality TV show in connection with singer Papon kissing a minor contestant during a Facebook live session.

“Security of children is a very serious issue. Thus, we are sending a notice to question the producers of the show on what steps they took to ensure the safety of children who were part of the series,” MSWRC chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar said.

She said the notice was being sent to the show’s producers as the primary responsibility for the safety of the children on the show was theirs. Rahatkar said Papon would also be questioned subsequently. The singer landed in trouble after a lawyer approached the MSWRC with a complaint of sexual assault over the incident.

Papon, however, said he was being “victimised” and that he would “never commit an indecent act”.

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.

A video has gone viral on social media in which Papon is seen planting a kiss on the girl while celebrating Holi with the contestants of the TV show ‘Voice India Kids’. He was one of the judges on the show, but quit it on Saturday.

The singer on Friday said he is “an extremely affectionate and expressive” person and it did not occur to him that showing affection to an 11-year-old child, who he had been mentoring for a while now, would be taken out of context.

Disgusting: Celebs react

Celebrities like Raveena Tandon, Farah Khan and Suchitra Krishnamoorthi have come out against Papon after a video emerged of the singer inappropriately kissing a minor girl.

The shocked celebrities feel that it’s disgusting and shameful and that the singer should be arrested.

Raveena Tandon

Disgusting! Shameful! Perverse! This man Papon should be arrested ! The girl’s parents succumbing to pressure! The explanations given are ridiculous! Haven’t felt such anger and shame to see this happen and some on tv debates actually defending the act.

Suchitra Krishnamoorthi

If anybody behaved with my daughter the way Papon did with the teenage girl I would slap him several times in such a way that no one dared behave that way again.

Ashoke Pandit

Papon’s body language and his brash attitude while abusing the child is a sign of arrogance and complete disregard for the law. This is a benchmark trait of every powerful sexual predator.

Farah Khan

I know Papon and he is really a good guy, but there is no doubt when I saw the video it made me uncomfortable. I don’t think he meant to do it, but if it was my daughter, I would not like it. I think people should not touch other people’s children. Just show affection to your own children. I think he meant in a right way. If you see the girl’s face after it happened, you will realize how uncomfortable she was.

Lyricist Manoj Muntashir defends singer

Mumbai: Lyricist Manoj Muntashir, whose poetry ‘Main Tujhse Pyaar Nahin Karta’ Papon sang in Neeraj Pandey’s film ‘Baby’, has defended the under-fire singer. “I saw some blurred images on news channels which were just not matching the dramatic voiceover suggesting Papon has committed a heinous and unpardonable crime. One thing is sure, the news-hungry electronic media only cared for their ratings and not the truth,” he said.

Manoj feels that after the video that was released on Saturday morning showing all the children on the music talent show and their parents passionately defending Papon, there is no room to doubt his intentions. He said: “Those who are supposed to be victims are giving Papon a clean chit. The girl’s father gave a statement clearly mentioning that Papon is like a father to that particular child and there is nothing to sensationalize.”

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