India migrant heads home after $150,000 Kerala lottery win

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Mofijul Rahima SheikhImage source, SK Mohan
Image caption,
Mr Sheikh sought refuge at a police station fearful he would be robbed

A West Bengal man who won the Kerala lottery jackpot one day after arriving there is returning home.

Mofijul Rahima Sheikh, 22, was the winner of the 10m rupee prize ($150,000; £106,000) at the Karunia government lottery.

He bought the winning ticket in Kozhikode city, where he was looking for work.

After discovering his win, he sought protection at a police station fearful that someone would steal his ticket.

Mr Sheikh arrived in the city on Wednesday and, on the following day, was handpicked to work at a construction site.

With the 50 rupees ($0.75; £0.52) he earned from his first day at the job, he bought the Karunia (compassion) lottery ticket.

"He told me he purchased the ticket out of sympathy for the physically-challenged seller," local police official UK Shahjahan told the BBC.

Three days later, Mr Sheikh discovered he had won the prize.

He spent two days at the police station, keeping safe his valuable ticket, until the banks re-opened after the Hindu holiday of Shivaratri.

"He came here on Sunday saying he feared for his life," another police official, AV John, said.

"He came with his luggage and everything... It was difficult for him to handle the pressure and excitement. By Tuesday, he was normal."

Image source, SK Mohan
Image caption,
Mr Sheikh went back to West Bengal with some distant relatives who were working in Kerala

Mr Sheikh, who is married and has an eight-month-old daughter, was planning to work and save the money to build a house.

His relatives were reportedly planning a big reception in his village in Bardhaman district.

Workers from West Bengal replace thousands of people in Kerala who migrate to oil-rich Gulf countries. There, they earn more than double the average salary in the eastern Indian state.