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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Kerala vlogger Rifa dies under mysterious circumstances in Dubai, serious lapses raise several questions

On March 1, a Keralite vlogger named Rifa Mehnu died under mysterious circumstances in Dubai. Her husband Mehnaz hurriedly brought the body back to Kerala and buried her. No post-mortem was conducted either in Dubai or Kerala. Her body was exhumed on May 7, and an autopsy was performed. Mehnaz is now absconding.   

Mehnaz (26) is from Kasargod and Rifa from Kozhikode. Mehnaz groomed her when she was 15-years-old over Instagram. Rifa was adamant, and her parents agreed to wait till she turned 18 to marry her off.

They uploaded videos and soon became social media influencers with lakhs of followers. Rifa and Mehnaz came to be affectionately called the Rifa Mehnu couple. These videos also feature many of Mehnaz’s friends, all-male ones. One constant feature was a friend named Jamshad.  

Jamshad, the flatmate who is now missing

Before the marriage, Mehnaz took Rifa to the mall and beat her when she spoke to an old male friend. Rifa’s father, Rashid, enquired at Kasargod, and locals told him that Mehnaz was addicted to drugs and had a criminal background. Rashid asked his daughter to leave Mehnaz, but Rifa said that Mehnaz would not let them live in peace. Mehnaz had extreme mood swings and is obsessed with the online game PUBG. 

They got married around three years back, and the couple has a two-year-old boy. Some time ago, Rifa got a job in a textile shop in Dubai, and the couple left with their son. Around six months back, they came to Kerala and embarked on a Munnar Trip. Upon return, Rashid saw marks on his daughter’s cheeks, and Rifa told him that beatings were common. 

While in Dubai, Rifa sent her brother Riju (he too lives in Dubai) a voice clip that Mehnaz’s friend Jamshad was sleeping next to her. She noted that Mehnaz and her baby were nowhere to be seen and that Jamshad kept on molesting her. Jamshad is said to have been sharing the flat with the couple. When Mehnaz returned, Rifa complained, but he did not seem bothered. 

Rifa’s family says Mehnaz groomed a ‘Bengali’ in Dubai. Bengali in local slang can be a person from West Bengal or Bangladesh. Mehnaz wanted Rifa to get the Bengali lady a job in the textile shop. Mehnaz, reportedly, has not worked a single day in his life. Rifa came home earlier this year, entrusted her child with her parents, and returned to Dubai. Unfortunately, they didn’t know that they would never see her alive again. 

Before her death, CCTV footage showed Mehnaz speaking to Rifa at the textile showroom. Later, Jamshad, the ‘Bengali,’ and the couple are seated inside the same shop. Another one shows Rifa rushing out, wiping her tears with some tissue paper.

On Feb 28, Rifa spoke to her parents late in the evening. She told her that she missed her baby and would visit her brother the next day. March 1 was a public holiday in Arab countries. On March 1, Mehnaz says that he returned home after an outing with his friends only to see Rifa hanging from the fan, strung on a bedsheet.

He immediately went ‘live’ on social media and was seen mourning the death of his wife. But he told Rifa’s parents that the body had to be moved within half an hour. By the time Rifa’s brother reached there, the body was lying in an ambulance. The fan was still working when he went to the room, and the mattress had a bedsheet. Her parents claim that she was brave and would never take her own life.

Mehnaz told the Dubai police that he did not have any complaint, and he quickly brought the body home to Kerala. Then, the body was hurriedly buried in Kozhikode, and Mehnaz left for Kasargod. He never returned to check on his infant son, even after two months. 

Rifa’s parents grew suspicious, and they complained to the local police. Police exhumed the body, conducted an autopsy at Kozhikode medical college, and sent her internal organs for medical examinations on the 7th of this month. Police charged Mehnaz with abetment of suicide and went in search of him. His family told them that he had not come home since May 2. 

Rifa’s mobile phone is missing, her Dubai roommate Jamshad who is still in Dubai, wouldn’t answer calls, and now Mehnaz is absconding. The victim’s family lawyer P Rafthas said that Rifa had suspicious marks on her neck and bruise marks on her body. Rashid told him that Mehnaz once beat Rifa with an iron rod and fractured her leg. Rafthas says that someone can’t hang a dead body unless he has some help.

Mehnaz told Dubai police that he did not have any complaints, and that is why they never did the post-mortem. Rifa’s brother Riju tried to give the voice clip about Jamshad to the Dubai police, but Mehnu convinced him that if they gave the clip, the police would not allow them to send the body home, and they would all be trapped. 

Bharatiya citizens are considered dispensable in those countries, Hindu or Muslim. The treatment meted out to unorthodox Muslim women living in the Gulf countries is legendary, but this incident takes the cake.

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  1. Circumstantial pieces of evidence show Mehnaz killed Rifa and hurridly took her body to Keral and buried her. Surprisingly, the Dubai police let the body go without postmortem only on the plea that Mehnaz had no complains to the authority! Do these Emirates consider Indians human?


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