Papon sexual assault case: The girl herself, Shaan and Zubeen Garg support singer
Singer Papon, who is at the centre of a controversy for kissing a minor girl on the sets of a reality show, has received support from other contestants on the show - Voice India Kids - including the girl he kissed. While most Bollywood celebs have opposed his behaviour and demanded an apology, singer Monali Thakur, Zubeen Garg and lyricist Manoj Muntshir have extended their support to the Assamese singer.
After a video surfaced online showing Papon kissing a minor girl, a Supreme Court lawyer Runa Bhuyan filed a complaint against the singer for allegedly assaulting a minor on a reality show where he is one of the mentors. While the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has ordered a probe into the matter, the Maharashtra state government has also asked for a separats investigation into the matter.
In a video doing the rounds online, few contestants from the show and their parents are seen vouching for Papon and justifying his behaviour in the video that was streamed live on the singer’s Facebook page last week.
“We were recording the Holi episode that day and later all of us went to Papon sir, including the parents. Everyone was having fun and they saw Papon sir did not do anything wrong. He just kissed me like a kid, my father and mother also kiss me. There is nothing wrong in that. All the parents here love their kids. Please do not take it in the wrong way,” the girl is seen saying in the video.
“We are disturbed to watch all these allegations against our dear Papon sir. Here, all parents have gathered to support and clarify how Papon sir actually is. He is such a nice person. He loves our kids and our kids love playing with him. We cannot even think about Papon sir like that (that he would misbehave with the kids). Please do not propagate wrong things about Papon,” one of the parents says in the video.
“No one is forcing us and we are telling the truth. No one can tell you the truth better than us,” he adds.
Another woman adds, “We all were there at the spot, nothing like that happened. The relation of a mentor and trainee is very pious, please do not spoil it. Please think about it, no one came to the girl or her parents to ask about the incident.”
Father of another contestant said, “The channel has made good arrangements for us. If someone wants to take a kid out, at least guardian is supposed to accompany them. Even on the sets, the kids are always with their guardians. All the parents here are very happy with the arrangements. We have a good bonding with everyone here.”
Sharing the video, Monali Thakur tweeted, “I got so many calls yesterday for this ridiculous misinterpretation of a man’s gesture of affection! I am a girl n I know what is sexual perversion in a man! And Papon is anything but that! Leave aside for a kid! Lotsa love @paponmusic #iStandbyPapon.”
Shaan, who is also a judge on the reality show along with Papon, also extended his support to Papon and tweeted about the incident. “My stand is on assumption that it was actually a wrong angle and the kiss was not on the lips.. I’ve known Papon to be extremely affectionate person and not a ‘pervert’ as being accused.. of course Law of the Land must take its course,” he wrote but later deleted the tweet.
Musician Zubeen Garg also posted on Facebook to support Papon. “I m sorry about th incident happened wth papon recently.he called me up today n we spoke fr sm time.i saw his statement also.i know him from a long time.i dnt think he had any intention to do it.its a simple incident which became viral in social media.so chill out be calm n enjoy ur moments evryday.we r musicians we love people n we r there only bcoz of th people.salute comrades.our music is our bonding, (sic)” he wrote.
Most Bollywood celebs, however, condemned the incident and demanded an apology.
Raveena Tandon took to Twitter to express her disgust. “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,” she wrote. She also insisted Papon should apologise. “Whatever the situation,accidental,unintentional,affection,love, though it is sad the #papon controversy happened. But will be an eye opener and lesson for all to not getting carried away,and not crossing a line which can be seen as inappropriate. #papons legal representatives doing not good for him either,spoiling it further by making silly arguments,if it happened unintentionally and the girl moved her face,admit it happened,apologise,instead of giving it a “guru shishya” love spin,sounds repulsive, (sic)” Raveena tweeted Saturday afternoon.
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