And TV, the channel on which singer Papon appeared as a mentor on their reality singing show (Voice India Kids), has dropped him from the panel of judges.
As pressure mounted on the channel after a video of the singer kissing a minor girl (who was a contestant on the show) surfaced on social media, And TV released a statement condemning the act.
While Papon tweeted that he has quit the show as he is in no 'mental state to fulfill most of my professional obligations', the channel's official statement suggests he has been fired.
Here's And TV's complete statement:
In a live-stream on Facebook, Papon was seen smearing Hcolorsours on an 11-year-old girl, grabbing her face and even kissing her, an act the singer dismissed as 'spontaneous affection.'
Supreme Court lawyer Runa Bhuyan filed a case against the singer with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) Act.
"I am shocked to see the behavior of Papon towards the minor girl where he is seen to be applying colors on the girl and inappropriately kissing her. On seeing the video, I am seriously concerned regarding the safety and security of minor girls participating in reality shows across India," Bhuyan wrote in her complaint.
Papon's Full Statement:
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.
My humble request to everyone, when you do come across this matter is to just pause and think about how much harm this does to the people involved. I have a loving wife of over 14 years and two young children. There is a little girl involved, whose identity is not masked in any way. Both of our families are being destroyed forever, just by people jumping to conclusions.
However, this is not to say that I haven't made a mistake. 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. Please do accuse me of being naïve and stupid even but please do not call me all those disgusting names.
Please note that the girl in question and her family have gone on record and stated that what is being depicted is not what actually transpired and it is in fact just a case of faulty camera angles and an accidental move and not a sexual assault as being reported. The said incident transpired in the presence of personnel from the reality show and there is nothing objectionable about it. I admit that I am an extremely affable person and am very convivial with my fan community but please bear in mind that I have been happily married for over 14 years with two children and I would do nothing to cause harm to them. I hold the girl in high regards not only as a lady but also as a contestant on the reality show I am part of. If I had anything to be culpable of, the said video would have been deleted from my social media. As an accountable civilian, the safety and respect of women are of grave importance to me and I would never commit an act that is inappropriate or discourteous in any form. Please know that my intentions with everything that I do in my life are always pure and honest and I would never commit an indecent act as it is being portrayed. I urge the members of the press and my fans to please consider both sides of the story before maligning my public repertoire and damaging the reputation of this girl. My family stands by me in this tough time where I feel I am victimized for no fault of mine.
What The Child's Father is Saying:
"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 doesn't differentiate among the children who are here and gives them equal guidance on pursuing their dreams. What you saw in the video is not intentional."
Disgusting! Shameful!Perverse! This man Papon should be arrested ! The girls 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 !— Raveena Tandon (@TandonRaveena) February 23, 2018
Forcibly "kissing" a 11yr old girl-child is not fatherly affection. Its sexual opportunism at the very least! As a mother, woman, human being there's no other 'angle' I can look at it from. #unacceptable #papon— Kausar Munir (@KausarMunir) February 23, 2018
#Papon 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— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) February 23, 2018
Also see on HuffPost: