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Lalit delegation to World Social Forum already in Mumbai


Alain Ah-Vee, Lindsey Collen, Ram Seegobin, Sharon Jacquin and Ian Jacob arrived in Mumbai on Wednesday morning to participate in the WSF. Ian Jacob from the Lalit Youth will be participating in the International Youth Camp of the WSF.

It is the first time that a Mauritian delegation will be attending the WSF. The previous three editions were held in Porto Allegre, Brazil.

The Chagos Refugee Group delegation who will also be participating in the WSF activities together with Lalit is expected in Mumbai early Friday morning.

The 4th World Social Forum starts on 16th January at 4:00 pm with a plenary session where 50,000 delegates are expected.

The opening plenary session will be chaired by Lakshmi Sehgal (India).

Dr Lakshmi Sehgal is the first woman candidate to have contested the post of India's President as the Left Parties' nominee in 2002 presidential elections. Dr Sehgal ranks amongst the legends of Indian freedom struggle.

Speakers in this session are :
Arundhati Roy (India) is the Booker Prize-winning author of the "The God of Small Things". In addition to authoring several political essays, she is a film-maker and has more recently been associated with the Narmada Bachao Andolan, which is protesting against a mega-dam project in Western India.

Ahmed Ben-Bella (Algeria) was his country's first president (1963-65). He was active in the Algerian battle for independence. Ben Bella was one of the nine legendary members of the revolutionary committee that, developed into FLN (Front de Libération Nationale). He had to serve time in French prison until 1962, when the Evian Agreement was signed, and Algeria received its independence. Ben Bella returned to Algeria, where he became prime minister of Algeria in 1962 and was elected president the following year.

Abduk Amir Al Rekaby (Iraq) is a pro-democracy activist.

Chico Whitaker (Brazil) is a leading social activist and one of the founding figures of the World Social Forum.

Jeremy Corbyn (Britain) is a British Labour Party MP and vocal anti-war activist. He led the campaign to have Augusto Pinnochet extradited.

Shirin Ebadi (Iran) is the winner of last Nobel Peace Prize. An Iranian lawyer and human rights activist. In the years 1975-1979, Ebadi served as president of the city court of Tehran and was one of the first women judges in Iran. After the revolution in 1979, she was forced to resign. She now works as a lawyer and also teaches at the University of Tehran.

Mustafa Barghouti (Palestine) is an active participant in the building of a democratic Palestinian civil society and is one of the most prominent leaders of the Palestinian struggle. He is the Secretary of the Palestinian Initiative, or Mubadara, a recently established democratic opposition movement in the realm of Palestinian domestic politics, co-founded with Dr Haidar Abdel-Shafi, Ibrahim Dakak and Dr Edward Said.

Shabana Azmi (India) famous Indian movie actress and has been a consistent activist in the struggle against real-world injustice. She has been active to make known the cause of slum dwellers in Bombay who had been evicted by municipal authorities. Since the communal riots of 1993 in India, Shabana Azmi has made public stand against communalism and has been actively militating against religious extremism.

Lalit delegates will be participating in four major types of event:
* Campaign to rally support for the closure of US Military Base on Diego Garcia. This includes participation in the General Assembly of the Anti-War movement, launching of the NO US BASE network and developing contact for logistical support for the Chagossian people to return to Diego Garcia.

* Campaign of the Alter-Globalisation movement. This includes the participation of Lalit in the African Social Forum where issues of Trade, WTO and global economy will be debated. Lalit militants will also be part of a workshop on new form of trade unionism organized by the New Trade Union Initiative of India.

* Campaign for political alternative to capitalism. Lalit militants will also be part of an international gathering of Left and green political movement.

Youth Camp. Ian Jacob will be amongst the 5,000 youth who will be in the 6 days intercontinental youth camp activities.