New Delhi: Expressing concern over rising intolerance, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday vowed to fight the "diabolical design" of divisive forces to spread hatred, which posed a threat to the unity of the country.
"Organisations and people of a particular ideology are spreading it to divide people. We are under no illusion that it is an accident."
"The hate, violence and petty mindedness is being unleashed as part of a pre-determined plan. We will not allow such a diabolical design to succeed...It will shake country's foundations....We are ready to fight the battle," Gandhi said.
"Today, our legacy is under threat...We are known the world over by our unity in diversity," the Congress president said at a ceremony where she presented the 29th Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration to Gandhian social activist Rajagopal PV.
Her remarks came against the backdrop of protests by artistes, writers and scientists over alleged "rising intolerance" reflected in the Dadri lynching, beef row and other such incidents.
Noting that Indira Gandhi deeply understood the value of unity in diversity, she said had the late Prime Minister been alive she would have wanted the party to stand with the common man and fight for his cause.
Gandhi also underlined the importance of the public sector, insisting that the late Prime Minister understood that the cause of people and national integration would be better served through it.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh hailed Rajagopal's efforts to persuade dacoits in the Chambal valley to give up arms in the 1970s. His efforts had led to surrender by more than 500 dacoits.
Singh also hailed the nationwide campaign launched by Ekta Parishad under Rajagopal's leadership in 2012 which brought issues of land reforms and land rights to the fore. He said Rajagopal made important contribution to the Land Acquisition bill in 2013.
While accepting the felicitation, Rajagopal said he would utilise the award money of Rs 10 lakh to educate volunteers to promote the cause of national integration and removal of poverty, issues dear to the heart of Indira Gandhi.