A day after a police case was registered against singer Papon for "inappropriately kissing" a contestant in a children's reality show, the singer-composer has stepped down as a judge on the singing reality show 'The Voice India Kids' saying "truth will prevail".
"Since I am in no mental state to fulfil most of my professional obligations, I have decided to step down as a judge on the show till the matter in which I have been falsely implicated is fully resolved and the investigations are over. I have full faith in the judicial system and eventually the truth will prevail. In the interim I would appreciate that my privacy is respected," the 41-year-old singer from Assam said in a statement issued on his Twitter account on February 24.
According to media reports, the Guwahati police lodged a case against him on Saturday after a complaint from the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights. "The alleged accused person will be called and he will be interrogated. Lawful action will be taken" said Moneesh Mishra, Deputy Commissioner of Police, East, Guwahati told NDTV.
Earlier this week, the mentor and judge on 'Voice India Kids', was caught on a Facebook live video smearing colours on an 11-year-old girl and kissing her. The video went viral and followed by a notice issued to both the singer and the channel by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). Supreme Court lawyer Runa Bhuyan has filed a complaint with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights against Papon.
Papon apologized and blamed the controversy on "faulty camera angles and an accidental move". "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," he added in a statement issued on Friday evening.
He also said, “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 industry remains divided on the controversy as some celebrities slammed him for the act while others have supported Papon. Singer Monali Thakur, a judge on The Rising Star, wrote, “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!”
Maharashtra Women and Child Development Minister Vidya Thakur has ordered a probe in this. Meanwhile, the contestant's father has backed Papon, calling him a "father figure" to his daughter. "What you saw in the video is not intentional. It was just a moment of affection that is being portrayed otherwise," he said.
Papon is known for his chartbusters from Bollywood such as Barfi!, Befikre, Sultan, and Dum Laga Ke Haisha etc.