Popular Malayali vlogger Rifa Mehnu’s body exhumed for postmortem

Rifa’s parents raised suspicion over the circumstances of the death of their 20-year-old daughter, who was living in Dubai with her husband Mehnu.
Rifa Mehnu in light blue
Rifa Mehnu in light blue
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The body of Rifa Martin, a young Malayali vlogger who died in Dubai in March this year, was exhumed on Saturday, May 7 in Kozhikode of Kerala. Though intial reports suggested that her death was by suicide, Rifa's parents later raised suspicion about the cause of her death and asked for a postmortem of the body. Rifa was only 20 when she died, but she had been married and living with her husband Mehnu in Dubai.Their little child had been with her parents in Kerala. Rifa's parents raised a complaint with the police, suspecting that domestic abuse by the husband might have led to her death.

Her body was exhumed in the presence of the Thamarassery Deputy Superintendent of Police and the Tahsildar from the Kakkur Pavandur Juma Masjid where she had been buried. The postmortem was done at the Kozhikode Medical College. The Tahsildar told the media that he had to be present to do the inquest since Rifa's death had taken place within seven years of her marriage. This pertains to the provisions of section 304B of Indian Penal Code (IPC), for dowry death. The postmortem would be completed and the body buried again the same day, he said. 

Her body had not reportedly decomposed much. “Since her body was embalmed from Dubai, it had not decomposed much. It will be helpful in the investigation. In some cases embalmed bodies do not decompose for a long period,” said Thamarassery DySP TK Ashraf.

The parents had made the complaint to the Kozhikode rural Superintendent of Police, and later the case was handed over to the Thamarassery DySP. Rifa's father told the media that they had been under the impression that the postmortem was already performed in Dubai, but on finding out later that it was not, they pressed for it. 

Rifa was a star on social media, with lakhs of followers for her videos posted on Instagram. She used to appear in videos together with her husband Mehnu, the couple doing food reviews or else posing together. They also acted in a music video together. When Rifa passed away suddenly on March 1, Mehnu reportedly posted a video about her death as an Instagram story, which had to be removed after the police asked to. He’d suggested that it was a case of suicide, however Rifa’s family expressed suspicion on the circumstances of her sudden death. She had called the family the day before she died and spoken cheerfully, they said.

In the days following her death, there was a strange chain of reactions, random people apparently angry at her popularity on social media. That it happened even when she mostly posted routine photos and videos of family and food and fashion made the outrage seem even more inexplicable.

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