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Terrorist acts by militant Sikhs, members of a religion originating in northern India in the 1500s, reached a peak in the 1980s with the assassination of Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi and the bombing of Air India Flight 182. Militants have attacked the Indian government because Sikhs want an independent homeland; many acts of Sikh terrorism were also committed as revenge for a 1984 attack by the Indian military on the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest of Sikh shrines. Militant Sikhs have also targeted moderates and critics in the Sikh community and members of nontraditional or minority Sikh sects.

The vast majority of Sikhs live in India, although substantial communities can be found in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. Most Sikhs in India live in the northwestern state of Punjab, where they constitute a narrow majority. For the first half ...

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