The Sikh Diaspora in Cyberspace - The Representation of Khalistan on the World Wide Web and its Legal Context

Dominika Sokol

Abstract

The Sikh community in India is a minority based on a religion that combines aspects of Hinduism and Islam and remained a part of India while the predominantly Islam states of Pakistan and Bangladesh were granted independence. Since the end of the 1970’s, an increasing number of Sikhs have been requestinging their own independent state: Khalistan. After the violent governmental intervention against Sikh separatists in 1984, a significant part of the Sikh diaspora joined the lobbying effort for independence employing a variety of methods including spreading the message via cyberspace. Considering the small size of the minority at 1.9 % of the Indian population, Sikhs have been disproportionately successful in spreading their message in cyberspace compared to other communities. So much so in fact that they have been censored by the Republic of India; in some cases illegally.This paper discusses the role that cyberspace played in the unification of the message of the Sikh separatist movement and the changing character of its website representation. It also examines the evolution of India’s legal framework for information technology for protecting The Republic when the sovereignty and security of the state in cyberspace is disturbed.

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