Khalistan Movement

The Sikh separatist agitation for a sovereign homeland in Punjab, India, found its ultimate expression in the Khalistan movement of the 1980s and 1990s. The Sikhs, a religious minority constituting approximately 2% of Indian society but a majority in the border state of Punjab in the northwest, nursed grievances centering on religious identity, economic and political discrimination, and social and cultural harassment. A Sikh diasporan community in North America, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia played an increasingly significant role as the ideology of Sikh self-determination, calls for assertion of human rights, and underground support for the violent Khalistani insurgency developed. Indeed, even as Punjab itself quieted by the turn of the millennium, the global Sikh community continued to uphold sovereigntist claims.

The year 1984 was a ...

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