Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said a democratic and resilient India had no place for bigotry and intolerance, yet millions encountered discrimination every day.
Extending her greetings on the 73rd Independence day, Gandhi in a statement said: "India has surged ahead exponentially in all arenas but at our core are the founding principles of 'truth, non-violence, compassion and unwavering patriotism'.
"A democratic and resilient India at 73 has no place for bigotry, superstition, sectarianism, fanaticism, racialism, intolerance or injustice, yet millions of fellow citizens encounter discrimination every day."
"We must rise as a nation to stand against every act of injustice, intolerance and discrimination to truly cherish our freedom."
The interim Congress President also unfurled the National Flag at the party headquarters earlier in the day. She was joined by former party president Rahul Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other senior leaders.
In her statement, Sonia Gandhi also urged citizens to observe the solemn duty of protecting and preserving the values of freedom, brotherhood, peace and equality while asserting that "our Independence was a result of immeasurable sacrifices of those who made India what it is today".
"We must not forget the supreme sacrifice of our armed forces in protecting the integrity of India."
The Congress chief also paid tribute to farmers, labourers, artisans, scientists, tradesmen, teachers, artists, writers and thinkers, who play an important role in nation building.
Mentioning the youth, she said: "Baton of nation building as also building a modern, equal, just and egalitarian society founded upon scientific temper, is in their hands."