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Last week, SOPW held a press conference at the Press Club in Chandigarh. The TV and print media were present when SOPW announced our legal team comprising of Amar Singh Chahal and Rajvinder Singh Bains. Alongside them, were our tireless and dedicated team members R P Singh and Parminder Singh.

We would like to provide you with some background information on our learned legal team. Amar Singh Chahal is a well renowned Senior Advocate for Punjab and Chandigarh. Today his hard work and dedication to the profession and expertise of criminal law have brought him laurels in legal circles. He has an in-built quality of leadership and sincerity to the Sikh cause, which grants him due recognition in the Sikh community. During the period of state tyranny in Punjab, he witnessed many cases of Police brutality and was so moved at the colossal loss of human lives, that he decided to form an organization of like-minded persons to provide free legal aid to the victims of state violence and also involved many lawyers in the noble cause of serving humanity. There are many cases of the acquittal of innocent people in terrorism related offences, to his credit. Alongside his impeccable career, he is also very charity minded; providing free medical treatment to the poor, providing rehabilitation to the kith and kin of those killed during the period of turbulence in Punjab and free legal aid to numerous litigants in the field of human rights.

Rajvinder Singh Bains is an esteemed human rights activist and lawyer who has practised in Punjab since 1985 and before that, worked as a technical officer in the Indian navy. He hails from a highly educated family and is the son of former High Court Justice Ajit Singh Bains, who founded the Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO). Rajvinder Singh Bains is a forerunner in the fight for human rights and is a member of the Committee for Coordination on the Disappearances in Punjab (CCDP) and the People's Commission on Human Rights Violations in Punjab. His level of commitment to the cause, led an Amnesty International Urgent Action report in 1998 to deem that he, along with several other human rights lawyers and activists, were at risk of possible detention and torture. Rajvinder Singh Bains has presented several cases before the Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC), including that of Paramjit Kaur Khalra, the wife of murdered human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra, in the trial of the police officers accused of Khalra's disappearance and murder.

As reported earlier, the NIA has once again begun its investigation into SOPW. This is just one of the many struggles we face in our line of work and it makes this official launch all the more significant. Many times, the Indian Authorities have used the media to falsely report on the activities of SOPW highlighting just how biased and corrupt the system is. Our team operates under the constant threat of these agencies and we cannot stress enough, how indebted the Sikh nation is to their selfless seva.

The introduction of this new legal team will provide SOPW with expertise, advice and counselling wherever needed. We are honoured to have both distinguished advocates on board our team and are humbled by their dedication in the fight for human rights.

© The Sikh Organisation for Prisoners Welfare 2020