A court in the United States of America on Thursday sentenced two people to prison on charges of committing a hate crime – they assaulted a Sikh-American in California in 2016, PTI reported. The court found Chase Little and Colton Leblanc guilty of felony assault and hate crime and sentenced them to 3 years of jail time in the California State Prison for the attack on Maan Singh Khalsa. It was reported that Maan Singh Khalsa, who is a Sikh-American IT specialist had been attacked in the Richmond Bay region in California in 2016. PTI reports that Khalsa had been stopped by Chase Little and Colton Leblanc at an intersection. The attackers then got off their truck and hit Khalsa in the face numerous times and then went ahead and knocked off his turban and cut off his unshorn hair with a knife.
Khalsa, who recognised his attackers in the court on Thursday told reporters that the recognition of this act as a hate crime and as a harm to his dignity and his entire community was the first step in the process. According to a statement issued by the Sikh Coalition, he said that he considered them as his brothers and expressed hope that some day they would also learn about him and his community. Before the charges against Chase Little and Colton Leblanc had been levelled, the community members, group leaders and various civil rights organisations had urged for the investigation and prosecution to be done on the basis of a hate crime.
Simon O’Connell, Deputy District Attorney of the Contra Costa County said that the attack on Khalsa had been based on what the attackers perceived his religion to be and such an attack was an attack on them all. The Sikh Coalition, meanwhile, told reporters that since the 9/11 terror attacks, for the last 15 years, the Sikh community remained at a greater risk of being targeted on the basis of racial profiling and bigotry than the average American.