Mumbai: TV actor Sheezan Khan’s mother and his sisters — actresses Shafaq and Falaq Naaz — held a press conference in Mumbai in which they rubbished the allegations of ‘love jihad‘ or that Tunisha was forced to wear the hijab.
The family asserted that Tunisha’s mother ignored the state of her daughter’s mental health. If she had paid some attention to it, Tunisha would have been alive today, the family alleged.
“Tunisha was like my sister.” Falak clarified. “All this talk about the hijab, dargah are baseless. Following a religion is our own personal choice. People are saying we forced her to wear a hijab, but the picture from one of her ‘Ali Baba: Dastan-e-Kabul’ shoots.”
She added that Tunisha was in her costume, and no one forced her to wear a hijab.
Sheezan’s mother referred to the claim by Tunisha’s mother that Falaq had taken her daughter to a dargah. “You give us proof,” she countered.
She also opened up on Vanita Sharma’s accusation that Sheezan had slapped Tunisha. “If your child is being tortured on sets like this, will you just sit and talk on the phone? She used to talk to me over the phone, then why didn’t she tell me or take any action? She could have come to my place and we would have slapped Sheezan. Was she waiting for her daughter to take this extreme step?”
Sheezan’s mother also added that for her, Tunisha was like a 10-year-old child and she shared an incident when she was running high fever, her mother called her to take care of her daughter. Sheezan’s sister took care of Tunisha and Vanita Sharma texted saying that no one ever cared for her like them.
The distraught mother added: “One more thing, Vanita has lost her only child and her lawyer was busy taking a power of attorney. You have lost a child. Your mission should only be to find out why your child took this step. The truth should come out. How can a mother do this?
“Tunisha was like a younger daughter to me. She’s gone and I too want justice for her. But now, Vanita is after my son. What do you want, Vanita ji? Your daughter has committed suicide, do you want my son to commit suicide too? You are torturing him.”
Sheezan’s sister also claimed that Tunisha’s mental health was ignored and if it was given proper attention, she might have been alive. Sheezan’s lawyer Shailendra Mishra even denied that his client had any “mysterious girlfriend”.
Sheezan’s sister responded to the allegation by Tunisha’s mother that she had not been made a part of the family, but the fact is that she was invited to Sheezan’s birthday and even came on Diwali. She was also a part of the launch party of the show.
Mishra, the lawyer, added that Tunisha’s uncle in Chandigarh and her mother controlled her daughter’s finances.
“Tunisha used to panic a lot upon hearing the name of Sanjeev Kaushal. On the instigation of Sanjeev Kaushal, Tunisha’s mother broke her phone and tried to strangulate her. Sanjeev Kaushal and Tunisha’s mother used to control Tunisha’s life,” the lawyer alleged.
He added: “Tunisha was very happy with the time she spent with Sheezan’s family. Her so-called uncle, Pawan Sharma, was her former manager. He was fired four years ago because Tunisha was unhappy with his interference and his behaviour.”
The lawyer also claimed that Tunisha never got the love she needed from her mother and that if she had got that love at home, she would not have tried to find it outside.
He continued: “This was not Tunisha’s first relationship. She had two break-ups before, but she was never depressed like this. She knew Sheezan and his family for the past six months since the show started. When Sheezan wanted to break up, they both discussed the matter and decided to focus on their respective careers. Sheezan’s arrest is illegal.”
Sheezan’s sister alleged that Tunisha was forced to work since childhood and she was mentally traumatised because of that. If proper treatment had been administered to her, she would have been alive today.
The mother added that Sheezan and Tunisha connected with each other because he understood her trauma. They also claimed that Tunisha’s mother ignored her daughter’s mental health and forced her to work. She was even forced to act in music videos because her mother forced to. Tunisha wanted to travel on holidays, but she couldn’t.
Sheezan’s mother said: “We went to meet Tunisha’s mother and we wanted to improve their bond. She needed treatment for her mental health. Later, Tunisha and her mother came and asked for the doctor’s number.”
Sheezan’s sister Falaq addressed the love jihad charge and said: “Tunisha was like my sister. I met her on the sets of a shoot in Ladakh. Since then, I have acted like an elder sister to her. We could never see her in trouble. All this talk about hijab and dargah are baseless.” She added: “Why are you stuck in religious matters? You should be talking about mental health.”
Shafaq added: “It was being claimed that Tunisha had started speaking in Urdu. Kisi language se kya lena dena. We live in India. So, accepting a certain language or a religion does not prove anything. This is a very wrong assumption. Religion is very personal and we will never force anyone.”
The family claimed repeatedly that even after looking at her mental health, Tunisha’s mother always focused on her work.
Sheezan’s lawyer asserted that Tunisha had panic attack on December 16 and her mother was asked to be with her, but she was not there.
“Sheezan has never changed his statement from Day 1 and their break-up was not the reason for her suicide,” the lawyer said. “Tunisha was deprived of love from her childhood. Sheezan never ditched here; they decided mutually to focus on their respective careers. Tunisha was mentally depressed. She was even questioned about her tattoo and never allowed to travel alone,” he added.
The young actress committed suicide on December 24. She hanged herself in the make-up room of her co-star and former boyfriend, Sheezan Mohammed Khan.
Sheezan’s judicial custody has been extended for 14 days, after he was arrested for allegedly abetting Tunisha’s suicide. He was arrested by Valiv Police in Palghar district on December 26.