“Bro I knocked at your door. U texted and then disappeared.” Seerath Parveen replied to a comment posted by Raudha on Facebook, two days prior to Raudha’s death. Who exactly is this Seerath Parveen and what connection does she have to the untimely demise of Raudha?
Raudha Athif was a 21-year-old Maldivian model and student studying at Rajshai Islami Bank Medical College, Bangladesh to become a doctor. She rose to fame when a photo titled ‘Maldivian Girl With Aqua Blue Eyes’ was posted on social media.
In a bizarre turn of events Raudha was found hanged on March 29, by her classmates who went looking for her when she failed to show up for breakfast. The news was immediately followed by one question, which seemed to be on the vast majority’s minds. Would she really take her own life? She was a promising medical student, with a bright and probably successful career ahead of her.
The incident was described and circulated in Bangladeshi news sites, most of them cited from the college authorities and police of Bangladesh.
The reports say that Raudha was first found by her college friend, who alerted college heads to the scene. She was late for breakfast and her friend went looking for her, finding her hanged in her room. She immediately forced the door open with the help of other college students and cut Raudha loose from the scarf that was around her neck, tied to the ceiling fan, according to reports from the authorities of the college.
Within an hour of discovering her hanged, photos of her frozen in the last moment of her life, started circulating in the media. From what can be seen in the photo rigor mortis had set in, her hands tightly fisted, head turned to one side. Speculation spread like wild fire, as most people recalled victims of hanging having their hands loose and not fisted as Raudha’s had. It was also probable that her tight fists are a sign of struggling to escape from harm, they said.
The next issue is the claim that she was hanged. Not a single photo had been taken of her hanged and circulated in the media. At a time when smart phones seem to want to click photo’s rather than attend to a victim, it seems out of place that no one took a picture of her at that moment.
Another pricking thorn is the question of when this had exactly happened. Was it in the morning before leaving for breakfast or at night, as the doctors had claimed was when she had ‘felt stressed and depressed’ and decided to hang herself?
The photo raises suspicion, as Raudha was seen wearing a nice white long-sleeved top and black jeans, as if ready to go outside. Everything in her room neatly arranged, except for the blanket on the floor under the chair she supposedly used to hang herself. A scarf hanged from the ceiling, while her heart shaped pillow rested at a corner of the bed.
The whole room seemed as if it was arranged how one does just before they leave for the day. The other plausible explanation would be that she never removed the clothes from the previous night.
Did she really commit suicide or was she murdered?
Raudha’s family rejects the claims that there was a forced entry to the room by the college students. This is not without reason. There was no apparent damage to either the door or the lock. Hence, did someone enter the room after she got ready for breakfast, or did she respond to the knock on her door and opened it?
The adamant rejection of Raudha’s family to the autopsy report, conveniently carried out by staff at her college, and investigations and musing carried out by individuals have raised suspicious and undeniable facts that doesn’t add up, along with people who are suspected to have had a hand in her death. They are currently being questioned in an attempt to shed some light into the matter.
This is where the elusive ‘Seerat Parveen Mohamed’ enters the equation.
She was a classmate of Raudha’s, whom the latter stayed up often to study with. Now the matter of the ‘message’ that was sent to Raudha by Parveen comes to light. Seerat had updated her cover photo on Facebook on March 26, Monday, showing a picture taken with Raudha laughing with her eyes closed.
The comments on the photo shows Seerat’s reply to Raudha’s comment "Hahaha". Seerat wrote, “Bro I knocked at your door. U texted and then disappeared.”
According to media reports, the last person Raudha was with, at the night of her death was Seerat. Seerat accompanied Raudha to consult the doctor the same night. It was also Seerat that found her hanged the next day. Seerat was previously accused of trying to drug Raudha with sleeping pills according to her family.
“Raudha used to study with her, late into the night. One night she was studying alone, so I asked her why. Raudha said that Seerat had tried to slip her sleeping pills, therefore she cannot trust anyone now”, Raudha’s mom told the Daily Star. Both Seerat and Raudha would know exactly how the sleeping pills would work.
Looking at all the facts, their last conversation on social media was the comments on Facebook, according to Seerat she knocked on Raudha’s door but the latter didn’t open the door. Either she ignored Seerat because she could not be trusted or she was not in her room.
Although after the autopsy the country’s police declared that she committed suicide, Raudha’s family has rejected the conclusion as the autopsy was done by doctors of the college. A team of Maldives police officers arrived in Bangladesh on Monday to probe the untimely death of Raudha.
One of the officers is reportedly a superintendent Mohamed Riyaz and the other is an inspector Ali Ahmed. They will reportedly study Raudha’s room during the investigation.
The fact that the autopsy was done by doctors of the medical college where Raudha was studying also raises a lot of questions. The strangulation marks found on her neck, her body posture and the fact that she "did not suffer from depression" all begs the question of how real her suicide claim is.
Upon the request of her family, the police detective branch has started further investigations into the case. Rajshai Metropolitan’s Detective Branch Assistant Commissioner, Ameen Hussain said they have initiated deeper investigations. With the involvement of the Maldivian police, the suspicions are targeted at Seerat.
Seerat’s phone was taken into police custody for investigation because she was the last person with whom Raudha spent her time with, and the insistence of Raudha’s family to check Seerat’s phone. If Seerat had not deleted the message, or has nothing to hide, her phone will have the message that Seerat claims Raudha had sent her. That message itself could play an integral part in answering the questions surrounding the death.
Another absurd and alarming issue is the fact that Seerat unfollowed Raudha’s on Instagram right after she died. Raudha’s account, previously set to Public suddenly couldn’t be accessed. According to the family, Raudha’s phone is with the police and the family did not do anything regarding any of her social media accounts. So who is responsible for the Instagram account's disappearance? These all point to the peculiar nature of Raudha’s death and they all somehow end with Seerat.
With Raudha’ death Seerat updated her status saying, “To all the people out there who are related to Raudha Athif and who are pained by her demise, please stop sharing and circulating her pics. There are other ways possible to show empathy and condolences. If you people can do least, pray for the departed soul.”
Instead of a status it would be more helpful if Seerat cooperates with the police, as she was Raudha’s closest friend from the college, with whom Raudha would have undoubtedly shared many of her problems in everyday life. Seerat would also be aware of the truthfulness of the claims that Raudha committed suicide after breaking up with her boyfriend a few weeks prior to her death.
They were after-all, in lieu of the comment, ‘Bros’ or the closest of friends.