Friends blame Manorama and Marunadan report for death of St Stephen’s prof, mother

Friends and colleagues of Delhi University professor Alan Stanley, who allegedly committed suicide, on Monday blamed malicious a news report published in Malayalam media against Stanley and his mother for the tragedy.

The decapitated body of Stanley, who was an ad-hoc professor in Delhi University”s (DU) St Stephen”s College, was found on the railway tracks at Sarai Rohilla here on Saturday and his mother Lissy was found hanging from a ceiling fan, with her mouth stuffed with a piece of cloth, in their Pitampura flat.

According to a friend of Stanley, who requested anonymity, “He had faced a lot of hardship. He lost his father when he was in the final year of college. Later, he ensured that his mother remarry, despite facing opposition from his elder brother, who drifted away from them.”

The mother-son duo was in depression because of an abetment-to-suicide case pending against them in Kerala and both were on anticipatory bail.

Stanley”s friends accused Malayalam media in Kerala for a news report published on October 15, portraying his mother in bad light by apparently comparing her to the prime suspect in the Koodathai serial murder case.

“Everyone was aware that both mother and son were very disturbed by reports in Malayalam newspapers, connecting them to his stepfather’s death… We are going to pursue the matter legally and demand that there be some kind of guidelines on how reporting is done,” his PhD supervisor Sanil V told Indian Express.

Stanley’s friends took to social media to slam Malayalam news outlet Manorama for its coverage of the mother-son duo’s dispute with his step-father’s family. In a report published in the Malayalam Monorama’s Kottayam edition on 15 October, the paper had questioned if Lissy was involved in her second husband’s death. Stanley’s friends and well-wishers say that the two were very disturbed by the article. Shortly after, Marunadan, another Malayalam news outlet, had picked up the story as well.

From the Quint report

“Aunty was compared to the prime suspect of the Koodathai murder incident.. For the past six months, Alan and his mother were facing legal battles on (a) property dispute and an investigation regarding the suicide of Alan’s stepfather. These cases had broken them down… Alan stopped communicating after October 15. Our friends in Delhi reached (out) to him, only to find he and his mother had lost all hope,” in a Facebook post, Stanley’s friend Rajiv Pereira also made similar allegations, referring to reports of Malayalam news portals on October 15 and 18.

The crime branch of Kerala Police is probing the abetment-to-suicide case registered against Stanley and his mother in Idukki district of the southern state. The case was registered on September 17, TA Antony, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), District Crime Branch, Idukki, said.

The case was lodged by the son of Stanley”s stepfather.

“He had alleged that Lissy forced her husband to transfer some of his cash to her account. Most of his liquid funds were transferred to her account. The stepfather became depressed and even consulted a psychiatrist,” the DSP said.

The psychiatrist advised treatment and care for Lissy”s husband Wilson, but she allegedly demanded a flat from him, forcing him to take his life, the officer added.

Wilson committed suicide by hanging himself.

“At that time, the police had investigated the case as one of unnatural death. Later, Wilson”s family levelled allegations against Lissy, saying she had driven him to commit suicide. There are allegations that a total amount of Rs 70 lakh was transferred to her account and that she is a nominee to her husband”s deposits of Rs 2.25 crore,” the DSP said.

A case was registered under sections 305 (abetment of suicide of child or insane person) and 380 (theft in dwelling house, etc.) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the mother-son duo, he added.

Principal of St Stephen”s College John Varghese said the college will hold a condolence meeting for Stanley.

A colleague of Stanley recalled him as a professor with whom students could connect since he was only a few years senior to them.

With inputs from PTI

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