Published: 28th October 2019
Why Stephen's College lecturer Alan Stanley's friends are fighting for justice even after his death
In their statement, friends and colleagues of Stanley blame a leading Malayalam daily's report implying they had a part to play in his stepfather's death as the reason behind his death
On October 19, Alan Stanley, a lecturer at St Stephen's College was found dead on the tracks of Sarai Rohilla. His mother was also lying dead at their home. While the police are still figuring out the cause, many are already making assumptions. Their deaths are being attributed to the fact that they were accused of playing a part in the suicide of Stanley's stepfather. Some say they were guilty, some say they were not ready to handle the probe. In the midst of all this, Alan's friends have released a statement claiming his innocence and have someone to blame for his suicide.
In their statement, friends and colleagues of Stanley accuse a leading Malayalam daily of being the reason why Stanley and his mother were pushed to commit suicide. "Alan and his mother, sure of their innocence had already sought the help of a lawyer and they were going through the process without fear. He was carrying out his work as a lecturer at St Stephen's College, Delhi. Until October 15, he used to talk to us," the friends in their statement said. October 15 is the day that the report came out in the daily.
One of his friends from St Stephens says that Alan's behaviour completely changed after the report came out. Up to that day, Alan was surrounded by friends and he managed to handle the situation, his friends said. But when the report released, Alan, a guest professor in Philosophy, began to withdraw from his friends too. "The report was very sensationalised and without any evidence or hard facts they compared it to the Koodathai case and somehow drew parallels to it. It was one-sided and the side of Alan's mother was not represented at all," they explained. "It was very evident that the report affected him deeply because he stopped taking our calls. He was a person who never wanted to hurt anyone and wanted to always leave a good impression on everybody. So when the accusation first came, he was affected but he stayed courageous and wanted to fight it out," he explained.
"The report did not directly accuse them but it was written in such a way that all fingers pointed to them. Without saying anything, they said everything, you know? A reader, at the end of the article, would believe that it was Alan and his mother who were to be blamed," they added.
Another friend of Alan from his time at the University of Hyderabad said that sensationalism also reached social media after the report. "Especially in Kerala because of the story, a lot of people also started judging his mother because she had chosen to get married a second time. Something that still isn't very accepted," he explained. But the worst thing to happen in the aftermath of the report was the phone calls, Alan's friends say. "They just kept getting call after call after call. They were endless. Many of those calls were also from friends rendering their support but it still made them feel horrible because it meant that thousands had read the article and they were being judged and blamed," he explained.
The Jolly references hurt
"They even called Alan's Mom "Thodupuzhayile Jolly” (Jolly of Thodupuzha). Jolly is the prime suspect of Koodathai serial murder case. And on the following days more and more such filthy, exaggerated scandalous, masala news came out. Alan and his mother were deeply hurt and worried by them and the comments in the lines of slut-shaming that followed it," Alan's friends say.
Since his friends knew this, they ensured that somebody was always with Alan. "That day one of our friends was supposed to go but when she called him, he said that another relative had come over and that he was fine. So my friend who was almost halfway there turned back," he recalled. In hindsight, it was a fatal error.
The need to tell the truth
So why speak up now? "Now the reason why we are reaching out is for three reasons. One, Alan and his mother were all alone in this struggle. We friends gave as much as much support we could have. His relatives seem to have isolated them. There is no one to tell their story. Even now after their death, sections of the media are saying they committed suicide because they were fearful of the probe, which is completely untrue," his friends wrote.
With a little help from his friends
Though, they are unaware of what is in Alan's suicide note, the friends feel that both mother and son blamed the report. "What we all know for sure is that the public shaming and the manner of sensationalising this issue by these media outlets, without neither true facts nor any ethics or integrity have really triggered the action which took place on October 19. They even portrayed the death of them as an escape from the probe regarding the case which is absolutely not true. They had a lawyer and they were fighting the case fearlessly for the past 6 months," Alan's colleagues believe. The friends are also contemplating taking legal action against the publication, "Media trials are simply unacceptable. People cannot just cook up stories without facts for the sake of gaining views."
Truly, a friend who cared
Not many friends will go to this extent to protect someone, but his UoH friend tells us a story that would explain why he was so loved. "A friend's friend's sister needed to apply for a course in Delhi and it was the last day. The only person I knew who would consider helping was Alan and so I called him and he of course agreed," he told us. So the student's documents reached by flight early that morning, Alan went to pick up the documents and then did all that was needed, finally submitting the application to the college. The student got her admission but his friend who had asked for the favour forgot to thank Alan for his help.
But he got a call from Alan, "He was so thrilled that the student got her admission, that he thanked me for giving him the opportunity to do something so nice. That was the kind of guy Alan was," he tells us fondly.
And therein lies the reason why people are still rooting for him, "We are trying to reach out for help because we are all that Alan and his mother had. We are not powerful but we want to help," his friends say.