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Family insists foul play in Maldives vogue model's death

Parents of Raudha Athif, a Maldivian student and model who was found dead at a medical college dormitory in Rajshahi on Wednesday, suspect their daughter was murdered.

“It's not suicide. I have seen the body and it did not seem to be a suicide case. There are some suspicions,” Raudha's father Mohamed Athif, who is a physician, told The Daily Star.

Doctors had performed an autopsy on the body of the 21-year-old girl at the Rajshahi Medical College (RMC) morgue.

“We examined the body thoroughly and collected samples for some laboratory tests,” Prof Mansur Rahman, one of the doctors was quoted.

He declined to comment about the autopsy. “We will analyse the test reports before coming to any conclusion.”

Raudha, a second-year student of Islami Bank Medical College, was found dead in her room at the women's hostel of the college in Nawdapara area of Rajshahi city. Her body was hanging from the ceiling fan with a scarf tied to the neck.

Following primary investigation, police said it appeared to be a suicide case. They, however, said they would not come to any conclusion until they get the autopsy report.

The law enforcers collected the mobile phone and other belongings of Raudha for investigation.

Talking to The Daily Star, her parents, who flew in from the Maldives, said they saw their daughter's body at the RMC morgue Friday morning.

Without giving any reason for the suspicion that Raudha was murdered, her father Mohamed Athif said, “She was not a person who would commit suicide. Suicides are committed by those who suffer from depression... She was a very happy person. She was neither depressed nor frustrated.”

Raudha was working hard for her second year final exam and she wanted to become a doctor. Her mother last talked to her around 11:00pm on Tuesday, hours before she was found dead.

During their conversation, Raudha told her mother that everything was alright, he said.

“There is no reason why she would take her life. She had no issues with anyone.”

However, local authorities however remain unconvinced saying that the circumstantial evidence at the scene also suggested that it was a case of suicide.

Two years ago, while experimenting with her pictures on social media she became a sensation in the country as the ‘Maldivian Girl With Aqua Blue Eyes’.
The picture landed her on the cover of Vogue along with five other women from South Asia.

Titled ‘Celebrating Unity In Diversity’ on their ninth anniversary issue, Vouge tried to capture the spirit of bold and beautiful women who are not only embracing their individuality but also inspiring others to do so, and Raudha Athif was one of them.

“Besides bringing their individuality to the ramp, these stunning models, some of them aspiring lawyers and doctors, are breaking stereotypes and inspiring others to think big, think strong,” Vouge had said.

On Thursday, the authorities of Islami Bank Medical College mourned Raudha's death at a meeting. They termed the incident “suicide” committed out of “a wrong decision made from depression”.

Many of the students and staff of the college are supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir, according to police and locals.

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