“The Proctor tried to make us move from here but we did not let her. Her security guards grabbed some of our booklets, our boys grabbed it back, she had a few in her hand and we made sure we grabbed them back too,” says Rohit Chahal, former Delhi University student and now Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad secretary. “The Proctor had said she was trying to clear all types of touts and unwanted elements from the university.”

Rohit was standing just inside the entrance of the Arts Faculty building, the venue where the pre-admission forms were being sold and accepted. It was Saturday and the city seemed to have forgotten somehow that it was admission time at Delhi University. The streets around the North Campus, with its heavy police presence and protective barricades that blocked pathways leading to several colleges (measures taken to manage the crowd), wore a deserted look at 11 a.m.

The ABVP, however, claimed that they are doing brisk business. “The kids here do not want to ask the senior citizens sitting behind the counters selling forms for information. They instead come to us. We are more approachable,” says Rohit, before adding: “If it was not for us, the kids who come to fill forms would not know anything.”

Sitting tiredly a few steps away is a middle-aged woman with about six girls sitting sullenly with their application forms in front of them. They refuse any help and say they will “figure it out on their own”.

“This is what I mean, when such people don't even want our help when we offer it, why would they go in the line and ask the busy people selling forms for any help?” says Rohit.

A few blocks away was the National Students' Union of India, with all its men dressed in white and looking healthy despite being on “hunger strike for free online application forms” for several days now. They were either lying down on mattresses, which were also white, or sat up straight and talked among themselves. Other members distribute their own “booklets of information about the DU admission procedure”.

The Arts Faculty was not as crowded as usual, but several students could be seen accompanied by their parents or friends. “My friend here needs to go to Haryana and we just took a chance and came here. We had even heard that they usually do not sell forms on Saturday,” said Vaishali.

The colleges were not completely deserted, courtesy the ongoing under-graduate exams but queues for ECA and sports forms were almost non-existent.

“I came here thinking of buying university forms and separate college ECA forms, but the fact that there are hardly any people in most of the colleges went to make me quite uneasy. I will be coming on a week-day again,” said Roger, who was also sitting in the Arts Faculty. He added that a man, claiming to be a “social worker” and a student of the Campus Law Centre, had accosted him and offered him help for filling his form. “He looked awkward and I refused. Anyway, he was harmless but the lack of people here feels strange and I don't like it.”

Almost all students talked to had no idea that the university was selling forms and had just chanced to be there. “We did not know they would be selling forms, we just happened to come here for fun and then to our surprise they were actually selling forms so we decided to buy them and submit it,” said two girls, sitting at the Arts Faculty and filling forms. They claimed to be twin sisters and said they felt lucky because they had heard from their friends that it was usually very crowded. “My friends said it took almost an entire morning for the whole process to be over,” said one of them.

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