She was a victim of severe domestic violence, says Malayali vlogger Rifa’s father

Speaking to TNM, Rifa’s father Rashid said that the family had strong doubts from the beginning about the cause of Rifa’s death.
Malayali Vlogger Rifa Mehnaz
Malayali Vlogger Rifa Mehnaz
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“As parents, it was not easy for us to take this decision to exhume our daughter’s body. I did not go to the mosque, I couldn’t bear to watch the exhumation, but we will go to any extent to find the truth,” Rashid, Rifa Mehnu’s father, said. Rifa was a 21-year-old Malayali vlogger who was found dead in her apartment in Dubai on March 1 this year. She was married to 26-year-old Mehnaz and had a small child. Her body was exhumed on Saturday, May 7 after her parents raised suspicions over the circumstances surrounding her death.

Speaking to TNM, Rashid said that the family had strong doubts from the beginning about the cause of Rifa’s death. “Initially we were told that a postmortem had been done in Dubai. A few days after the body reached us, we requested for the postmortem report, and it was then that we realised that it was not done. That was really suspicious,” he said.

“Apart from that, we saw the CCTV visuals from the shop where Rifa worked, in which Mehnu (Mehnaz) was seen talking to her for a long time and hitting her. Later she was seen crying,” he added. Rashid recalled that a few hours before her death Rifa had called her parents and seemed very happy. “She would not have taken her own life,” he said.

Rifa was a popular Instagram influencer, with lakhs of followers. She posted videos of food reviews and photos of her alongside her husband. The couple also acted in a music video together. Her photos were mostly those of family, showing cute moments with her son and husband.

Rashid alleged that Rifa had been subjected to domestic violence by her husband ever since they were in a relationship. “Mehnu used to hit her and shout at her in front of others. Many times I have heard her pleading with him not to do so in public. Once he pulled her hair and shouted at her in front of us,” he said.

He also recalled that this happened even when the couple were in a relationship, before they got married. “Once he hit her when they were in a mall just because she spoke to a friend of hers. If there were mistakes in a video she had made, he would hit her,” Rashid alleged.

Meanwhile, in an interview to an online channel, Mehnaz alleged that when he and Rifa had gone on a trip to Munnar with friends in December 2021, he saw some texts and videos of Rifa on the phone of one of her friends, Bacha, seemingly indicating that Bacha and Rifa were in a relationship. Mehnaz claimed that he had informed Rifa’s parents about this. He also raised doubts about Bacha’s involvement in Rifa’s death, stating that she might have taken her own life after Bacha threatened her.

However, Rashid refuted the allegations, saying that Mehnu was always suspicious about Rifa. “He was always doubting her. There were issues between them even before the Munnar trip. When she returned from Munnar, I saw bruises on her cheeks. I asked whether Mehnu had hit her. She told me it happened regularly,” he said.

He also added, “We were not at all happy with them getting married. But she was so much in love and wanted to marry him. That is why we agreed.”

Rashid also questioned why Mehnu did not inform the Dubai police if he had doubts over Bacha’s involvement in Rifa’s death. “Moreover, Rifa sent a voice note to her brother Riju, who is also in Dubai, saying that when she got up at night she saw Jamshad, a friend of the couple, sleeping close to her and Mehnu was nowhere to be seen. She also said that Mehnu did not seem to be bothered about this. After her death, Riju tried to give this voice note to the Dubai police, but Mehnu convinced him saying if the clip was given then the police would not allow them to send the body home, and they would all be trapped,” Rashid said.

If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families.

Tamil Nadu

State health department's suicide helpline: 104

Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)

Andhra Pradesh

Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930

Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584


Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222


Maithri: 0484 2540530

Chaithram: 0484 2361161

Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.


State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104

Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200

SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 am and 7 pm

Aasara offers support to individuals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.   

24x7 Helpline: 9820466726

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