MUMBAI: In 1909, British Police Commissioner of Bombay, S.M Edwards played a big role in formation of the A.D Bavla Muslim Girls Orphanage, a first of its kind shelter home in the city for homeless Muslim girls.
History reveals that Mumbai was a big center of human trafficking, where human traffickers brought young girls and women for selling them at brothels. Police not only rescued the innocent girls from the clutches of human traffickers, brothels and sex dens, but they also took into their custody, children, including small girls caught loitering and wandering in the city streets. It was very much likely that such children would land up in brothels.
However the city police faced difficulty in providing suitable shelter and guardianship to these children specially girls. There were one or two shelter homes in the city then, which were run by Christian missionaries. The then Police Commissioner, S.M Edward felt that it would be impolitic on political and religious ground to send derelict and rescued Muslim children to the shelter homes run by Christian missionaries.
However till 1909, no such orphanage or shelter home existed in Bombay where such Muslim children could be sent. Result of such a situation was that many girls who did not find a better shelter and custody were absorbed into brothels or crime world.
British officers even felt that the cells at Police stations were most undesirable places for such children as these had an over crowded population of hardened criminal.
Thus, Police Commissioner S.M Edwards determined his attention to set up a shelter home for girls and small children of various communities. Accordingly he drew an appeal to set an orphanage for Muslim girls which was widely circulated in the Muslim community.
There was a favorable response from Muslims, and about Rs.2 lakh were collected within two weeks. The trustees of the estate of late ABDULLAH HAJI DAUD BAVLA offered a donation of Rs.3 lakhs to the Police Commissioner, on the condition that this orphanage may be named as Late Abdulla Haji Daud Muslim Girls Orphanage, his trustees must be represented in the managing committee of the orphanage and articles, constitutions, bye- laws of the orphanage must be embodied in a legal deed of trust.
At the request of Police Commissioner Of Bombay, the Bombay Government agreed to become a party to the deed and agreed to appoint Police Commissioner, or any officer designed by him as the Chairman of the Trust.
In 1910, Late A.D Bavla Muslim Girls Orphanage was founded in a Bungalow premises acquired by the trust in Lalbaugh Parel area, which later on was known as Bavla Compound. This orphanage was formally opened by Sir George Clarke and Lady Clarke.
The arrangements at the orphanage were looked upon by the trusted Muslim officers of Bombay CID. Famous CID officer of that time Khan sahib M.F Taqi, in consultation with Jamats and leaders of various sections of Muslim society handled the affairs of the Orphanage, on behalf of Chairman of the Trust, the Police Commissioner of Bombay.
This social project initiated by British Police Commissioner S.M Edward proved success.