Kashmir: Educationist Sabbah Haji released on bail

The former Director of Haji Public School was arrested for social media post where she allegedly referred to late General Bipin Rawat as a “war criminal”

Sabbah Haji
Image Courtesy:sirfnews.com

Sabbah Haji is popular on social media for sharing updates about the Haji Public School, in Breswana that is located at an altitude of 8,483 ft. Over the years, she has shared photos of students, many first generation learners, and of volunteers who come from across the country to reach the school after a laround seven kilometer-long trek or on horseback. It is the only way to reach from “the nearest cross-over bridge over the Chenab in the rustic town of Premnagar,” as described by the schools website. Yet they have gone, and stayed on for weeks, some for months to teach the local students, the school being the sole window to the outside world, for the children of the remote area.

However, recently, Sabbah Haji who has been the face of the school and helped make it popular worldwide was in the news after there were demands for her arrest for a social media post where she allegedly referred to the recently deceased General Bipin Rawat as a “war criminal”. According to reports, Haji had reshared an Instagram post to her story, which allegedly had those words directed towards General Rawat. Many social media users filed complaints against her stating they were offended by the purported social media post, and demanded her arrest.

As reported by Bar & Bench, Sabbah Haji the former Director of Haji Public School, was released on bail “pursuant to bonds executed under Sections 107 and 108 of the Code of Criminal Procedure after she referred to Chief of Defence Staff late General Bipin Rawat as a ‘war criminal’ on social media soon after his death in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu.” The Bail was granted by Executive Magistrate of Doda district in Jammu & Kashmir and an order “in exercise of powers under Sections 107 (security for keeping the peace),108 (security for good behaviour from persons disseminating seditious matters) and 151 (arrest to prevent the commission of cognisable offences) of the Code of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)” stated the news report. 

Haji’s posts and the demand for her arrest had gone viral on social media and the Executive Magistrate of district Doda had taken cognisance of the matter and started an investigation, stated the news report, she was subsequently granted bail “on condition that she will remain present at women’s police station Doda from 10 AM to 2 PM for three days, December 14 to 17, and shall appear before the Executive Magistrate Doda on December 17,” reported Bar & Bench. 

The Haji Public School management officially distanced itself from Sabbah Haji and put out a statement “The Haji Public School management would like to clarify that a recent distasteful media post during the rounds has nothing to do with the school and that the said person has acted in their individual capacity after their tenure with the school ended. Ms Sabbah Haji is not associated with Haji Public School in any official capacity.”

Recently, Scholars at Risk (SAR) Academic Freedom Monitoring Project, released its report “Free to Think 2021” which documents 332 attacks on higher education communities in 65 countries and territories. These are global instances of “attacks on scholars, students, staff, and  their institutions” by “State and non-state actors, including armed militant and extremist groups, police and military forces, government authorities, off-campus groups,” and crucially “even members of higher education  communities,” among others. From January 2011 through August 2021, SAR reported 2,150 attacks on higher education communities in 113 countries and territories. 

Haji Public School functions under the Haji Education Foundation, set up in 2011 specifically to promote education in the region. Sabbah Haji has been receiving scores of statements of solidarity since the news of the recent action against her broke.


This year, a sizable chapter has put on record the situation of the academic community in India. The report pus on record that “authorities are prosecuting more than a  dozen scholars and students under the country’s  anti-terrorism laws, in an apparent act of retaliation  against their expression and views critical of Prime  Minister Narendra Modi and his administration.” 

The reports called imprisonments and prosecutions of scholars and students as “wrongful when intended to punish,  deter, or impede nonviolent academic activity or  the exercise of other protected rights, including freedoms of expression, association, or assembly”. Such prosecutions it stated are typically under laws such as “blasphemy, civil and criminal defamation, sedition, espionage, national security, and terrorism laws”. It mentions examples from In India, such as the Central University of Kerala’s suspension of  Gilbert Sebastian, an assistant professor in the  Department of International Relations, for allegedly describing  the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), as “proto-fascist” during virtual session of a course he  teaches on “fascism and Nazism”. He allegedly referred to other political figures and governments that could be considered examples of proto-fascists, including the Spanish general Francisco  Franco and the apartheid government of South Africa.


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