St Stephen’s teacher, mother found dead: ‘He was troubled by media coverage of stepfather’s suicide’

Sukrita Baruah
Alan Stanley (27) and his mother lived in Pitampura.

After the death of PhD scholar and teacher Alan Stanley, and his mother, Saturday, his mentor and friends have alleged the two were driven to death by media coverage of the death of his stepfather.

The 27-year-old was a second-year PhD candidate at IIT-Delhi’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and his area of research was the philosophy of chemistry. In January, Stanley had joined St Stephen’s College as an ad-hoc teacher in its philosophy department. He had studied BSc Chemistry at St Stephen’s before doing an MA in Philosophy from Hyderabad Central University and beginning his PhD.

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“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,” said his PhD supervisor Sanil V.

In a social media post, Stanley’s friend Rajiv Pereira also made similar allegations, referring to reports in two Malayalam news portals on October 15 and 18: “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.”

His students remember him as being deeply passionate about teaching philosophy. “We were the first batch that he had taught; he was very excited about it. He would spend a lot of time teaching us different mathematical paradoxes. I will always remember the internal assessment test he conducted. In the middle of it, he pulled out packets of fruit juices. We stopped writing for a few moments to squeal about how sweet the gesture was,” said Urna Chakraborty, whom Stanley had taught in her final semester.