The Sikh separatist movement is sponsored by Sikh groups inside and outside India who want to carve out an independent Sikh state called Khalistan (Land of the Pure) from Indian territory. Sikh violence surged following the Indian Army's 1984 assault on the Golden Temple, Sikhism's holiest shrine.
Attacks have been mounted against Indian officials and facilities, other Sikhs, and Hindus; they include assassinations, bombings, and kidnappings. Sikh extremists probably bombed the Air India jet downed over the Irish Sea in June 1985, killing 329 passengers and crew. On the same day, a bomb planted by Sikhs on an Air India flight from Vancouver exploded in Tokyo's Narita Airport, killing two Japanese baggage handlers. In January 1993, Indian police arrested Sikhs in New Delhi as they were conspiring to detonate a bomb to disrupt India's Republic Day, and in September 1993, Sikh militants attempted to assassinate the Sikh chief of the ruling Congress Party's youth wing with a bomb.