Two men were sentenced to three years in prison by a US court for brutally assaulting a Sikh-American man Maan Singh Khalsa in a hate crime.
Charging them with heat crime, US court held Chase Little and Coltin Leblanc and ordered three-year term in the California state prison.
Khalsa, a Sikh American father and IT specialist, was brutally assaulted in Richmond Bay area, California in September 2016.
The accused stopped him at an intersection, got out of their truck and assaulted him by hitting his face repeatedly. The attackers knocked off his turban and cut his religiously-mandated unshorn hair with a pocket knife.
While attempting to shield his hair from being cut, he suffered a lacerated pinkie finger, part of which had to be amputated. He said he has suffered from post-traumatic stress and that his life is ‘forever changed.’
In addition, he said the attack have affected his ability to work since typing on the computer is an important aspect of his job which could not be done with amputated finger.
Singh recognised his assaulters in the court and expressed satisfaction with court’s decision.
“The recognition of the attack as a hate crime – as harm to my dignity and my entire community – is the first step in the process,” said Khalsa.
“I still consider you my brothers, and I hope that you will learn about me and my community, and one day consider me your brother, too,” he added.
“The attack upon Khalsa based upon his perceived religion and identity is an attack upon us all,” Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Simon O’Connellsaid. “As a community, we must do better and it is my hope that today’s sentence moves us further in that direction,” he said.
The Sikh coalition, who constantly advocated on behalf of Khalsa for hate crime prosecution, said that the 9/11 attacks have left Sikhs more prone to such attacks than an average American.
A number of Sikh men have been targeted in hate crime post appointment of Donald Trump as the US President. Before Maan, a Sikh man was shot in Kent city of Washington state after the attacker told him to “go back to your own country” in March. In May, Sikh-American Prabhjot Singh who has experienced hate violence firsthand testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the urgent need to address hate crimes in the United States.
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