A Vogue cover model found dead in her dorm room in Bangladesh was murdered by extremists for not wearing Islamic clothing and did not kill herself, her family have claimed.
Raudha Athif, 21, who once received praise from the president of her native Maldives for her striking appearance, was reportedly found hanged last week.
An autopsy report carried out in Bangladesh ruled her death as suicide. But her brother has since insisted that Raudha, who was Muslim, was murdered and that her death was made to look like a suicide.
Her father Mohammed Athif has also dismissed the suggestion she took her own life, writing on Twitter: ‘Maldivian medical student and my daughter Raudha Athif did not commit suicide. She was murdered at her hostel room. I’ve the facts.’
‘There have been a series of murders in Bangladesh which have been staged to look like suicides and Islamic extremists have been suspected to be behind these atrocities,’ he said.
‘Her style of clothing was branded as “immodest” and “un-Islamic” even though she adhered to the dress code in the college premises by wearing a veil covering her face.
‘But she was criticised for wearing jeans and was repeatedly told she couldn’t wear it at the Muslim college – which has a lot of extremist connections and support. Other students have also been subjected to this type of bullying.’
He claims Raudha told her family an unknown person had slipped sleeping pills into her drink a few weeks before she died.
Police from her native Maldives are said to have met with Bangladesh’s Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP) and medical college bosses amid heightened speculation over the death.
The Dhaka Tribune quoted Amin Hossain, assistant commissioner of RMP Detective Branch, as saying there was a ’50 per cent chance that she did not commit suicide’.
Last week, Mahmuda Begum, the superintendent of the female hostel, said the model ‘always looked happy,’ and added, ‘it is hard to believe she would commit suicide’.
The model’s first major breakthrough was a stunning image taken by photographer Sotti called ‘Maldivian Girl With Aqua Blue Eyes,’ which was praised by the former president of the Maldives over social media.
The picture made her an internet sensation in 2014. Her fame grew and she eventually landed on the cover of Vogue India in October last year.
‘Modelling is a hobby rather than a career for me, since I’m studying to become a doctor,’ she told Vogue. (Source credit – The Daily Mail)