One of the 29 states of India, Punjab is located in the north-west of the country. Historically, the territory of modern Punjab was part of a larger region that encompassed Haryana, Chandigarh, and the modern Pakistani province of Punjab. The region was characterized by extreme confessional heterogeneity (Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims lived in the area). In the XVIII century, there existed the Sikhs state in the area. In the middle of the XIX century, Punjab became a British colony, and Sikh separatism became a constant source of contention in the region. Due to religious heterogeneity, a fault line passed through the Punjab during the partition of British India, and that part of the Punjab, which was inhabited by Muslims, moved to Pakistan. In the Indian Punjab, which received the status of a federal state, most Sikhs and Hindus remained. In a full sense, the Punjab became an ethnic state only in 1966 when Haryana with a predominantly Hindu population was separated.
Unlike most Indian states, the dominant group - the Sikhs - is defined not so much by language but by religion. More than 90% of the state's population speaks Punjabi, and the share of Sikhs (according to the 2011 census) is 57.7%. Other Punjabi-speakers profess Hinduism and Islam. Thus, even after the separation of Hindu Haryana, the state remains heterogeneous in confessional terms, which engenders interethnic conflicts. Interethnic tensions in the province date back long in history, a feature that magnifies the scope of the conflicts. Particularly salient are the territorial divisions of the Punjab, which were accompanied by bloody clashes and mass migrations of people, since the religious communities of Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims have never been localized.