Finally, Yasin Malik changes his name | india | Hindustan Times
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Finally, Yasin Malik changes his name

india Updated: Feb 20, 2007 00:02 IST

Yasin Malik sees only one reason for his arrest in 1999 at the Pakistani border, his eight-year-old ongoing trial in faraway Amritsar, and his long, reluctant bachelorhood: he shares his name with Kashmir's top separatist leader.

So this week, he finally found himself a new name.

Yasin Malik, 39, is starting legal proceedings to change his name to Yasin-ul Hasan.

Malik is accused of tearing off four pages from his passport, purportedly to hide some visas from the immigration officials. Damaging one's own passport is not an offence listed under the law.

He was arrested at the Attari railway station when he was on way to meet his uncle in Pakistan's Bahawalpur town. He alleges that the pages on the passport were torn by security officers who put him through a lengthy interrogation on hearing his name.

"When I told them I was not the Yasin Malik they had in mind, they asked me for Rs. 1,100 to be let off. I only had Pakistani money that I had just changed, so I refused. Then they tore off the pages," Malik alleged. Prosecutors in Amritsar could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Forty-five hearings have been held in the case over eight years. Malik has to travel to Amritsar every few months for the hearings.

However, "this instance is not covered under the Passports Act," said lawyer Vibhav Krishna, who suggested Malik sue the officials instead. "Destruction of one's own property is not an offence."

There is no way to tell whether Malik's woes are linked to his having the same name as Yasin Malik, the tall, bearded separatist leader of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front.

The separatist leader's namesake says he has frequently faced problems because of his name.

"I am often questioned by security forces when I tell them my name at checkpoints. And I have been rejected for marriage four times. The other side called off the meeting after they came to know of his name and the court case," he said. Malik finally got married on April 7, 2005 - the same day when the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus rolled down the Kashmir Valley.

"I chose that date because I have a deep desire to go to Muzaffarabad, where I have many relatives," he said. "My problem is linked to the Kashmir problem."

Email Neelesh Misra: neelesh .misra@hindustantimes.com

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