National Commission for Scheduled Castes may not take kindly to separate counters being opened to sell forms for SC/ST candidates

Chaos and confusion reigned supreme in Delhi University on day one of admissions, on Monday, – with the university website crashing and students leaving without an application form after standing in line for close to two hours in Daulat Ram College after sales counters changed several times over. To top it all, there were separate counters selling forms for SC/ST candidates, a discriminatory practice which had reportedly landed the university in trouble with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes last year.

Till about 11 a.m., Daulat Ram College had not even opened its gates. A small kiosk, meant for the security guard was used to service the labyrinth queues that stretched the entire length of the road, causing heavy traffic snarls. There were no student volunteers from the university, let alone from the “vigilance committee,” promised by the university to oversee the procedure.

Some members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) had set a stall opposite the college gates but after a while demanded that the gates be opened. Another counter opened up inside the college and when the members of the ABVP started their protest against the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) and the NSUI against poor facilities, the teachers from the sales counters quietly left without informing prospective students and their parents who had been waiting in the serpentine queue for close to two hours.

The heat and the constant waiting made some parents shout at the protesters asking them to leave. “What is the point of telling us how bad the four-year undergraduate programme is when we are going to take admissions here anyway? We just want to buy and submit the form and then leave,” said Kareena Bhasin and her group of friends who had been waiting for close to one hour in the searing heat.

“I came here at 9.a.m. and went first to the Arts Faculty where someone told me that the forms were not being sold there but here. We stood in line here and were pushed back when the counter first changed from outside the gates to inside. Then we stood inside after which the protest happened and even this line is now being broken up. We have decided to go home now,” said Pavan and his group of six friends.

The “kiosk” started selling forms again and some more counters opened up, with SC/ST forms being sold separately. “This is embarrassing. I came here with two of my school friends who did not know I am an SC until I had to go to the separate counter,” said Manoj, who added he had come from U.P.

There were no tents or drinking water or place to sit for the applicants. When asked regarding the poor arrangements, the principal said: “We did not anticipate so much rush, we will make better arrangements tomorrow. Also, I was informed on Sunday night that we did not have permission for tent arrangements. We had some exams going on and that is why we did not let the students and their parents inside. The SC/ST forms are of a different price and we made separate counters to avoid confusion.”

Around 30,000 people were trying to access the university website and that was why it crashed, said the university authorities.