Two Americans have been sentenced to three years in prison for assaulting an Indian-American man in California in September 2016, PTI reported on Friday. A US court found Chase Little and Colton Leblanc guilty of felony assault and hate crime charges. Maan Singh Khalsa was attacked in Richmond Bay area, California.

“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,” Khalsa said in a statement issued by The Sikh Coalition, a rights group in the US. “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.”

The verdict was hailed by Contra Costa county Deputy District Attorney Simon O’Connell, who said. “The attack upon Khalsa based upon his perceived religion and identity is an attack upon us all. As a community we must do better and it is my hope that today’s sentence moves us further in that direction.”

The assault took place on September 25 while Khalsa was waiting at an intersection in his car. The Sikh Coalition said the two attackers first threw a beer can at his car before assaulting him through an open window, cutting off a portion of his hair and knocking off his turban. They also hit him repeatedly, causing injuries to his eyes, fingers, hands and teeth. One of his fingers will need to be amputated because of injuries sustained while resisting the assault.