A Supreme Court lawyer on Thursday filed a complaint with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights against Bollywood singer Angarag Mahanta alias Papon for allegedly kissing a minor without her consent, Live Law reported on Friday.
In a video that went viral on social media, Papon is seen smearing coloured powder on the girl’s face and then kissing her in a van on the sets of the reality show Voice of India Kids 2018. Immediately after he kissed the minor, Papon is seen asking for the live feed to be cut.
However, the video was later posted on Papon’s official Facebook page.
Advocate Runa Bhuyan, in her complaint to the commission, said that she believed the singer had committed sexual assault. The lawyer said that the NCPCR should conduct an inquiry and punish the accused under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
Bhuyan added that she was “seriously concerned about the safety and security of minor girls participating in reality shows across India”. She said that there was no female member of the crew present inside the van when the incident occurred. She said the child rights forum should set up guidelines to prevent such sexual assault on children in reality shows.
&TV, which telecasts the Voice of India Kids 2018 reality show, issued a statement saying it has always adhered to NCPCR’s rules and other laws about child safety on its shows.
“We’ve always focused on safety, security and well-being of contestants participating in our shows,” the channel said. “We believe in nurturing talent with utmost sensitivity while we provide them platform to showcase their aptitude. We’re extending complete support to all parties who are impacted by this incident.”
Papon’s lawyer told ANI that Bhuyan had filed the complaint “without doing much homework”, which would cause trauma for the child and her family. He claimed that the singer would not have put the video up on Facebook if he had any inappropriate “feelings”.
“The girl’s father has made a statement that the relation between my client and the child is like that of teacher and student,” he added.
Papon denies sexual assault
Papon on Friday made a Facebook post echoing his lawyer’s statement that he would not have put up the video on the social media network if his intention was to molest the child. “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,” the singer added.
“Both of our families are being destroyed forever, just by people jumping to conclusions,” he added. Papon also claimed that both the girl and her father had said “on record” that his actions did not constitute sexual assault.
However, the singer also apologised for his actions. “I might have done it spontaneously but in today’s environment, to touch a girl child, however innocent your thoughts are, is not advisable,” he said. He claimed that people could call him “naive and stupid” if they wished to.