Kicking up a row, an IUML MLA on Monday attended the Kerala Assembly wearing mask and gloves to highlight the impact of Nipah virus in Kozhikode district, triggering a war of words between the ruling LDF and opposition UDF members.

The Kuttiady MLA, Parakkal Abdulla walked into the assembly wearing mask and gloves, and was seen greeting the opposition members.

While Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, said the member’s behaviour amounted to ‘trivialising’ a serious issue, Health minister KK Shylaja described it as a ‘ridiculous act.’

The state was maintaining extreme vigil following the outbreak of the deadly virus.

Since the Nipah virus was confirmed, government has taken all necessary steps to contain it. The health department has intervened efficiently.

Even then, the MLA has come to the house wearing a mask which amounted to self ridicule, Vijayan said attacking the member.

Health minister said there are certain criteria for wearing a mask.

If the member was infected by the virus, he should not have come to the house, she said.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said he was told by the MLA that in Kozhikode everyone was wearing mask and walking around and so he had come to the house as a symbolic gesture.

Abdulla said his act was only to bring the government’s attention to the situation in Kuttiyadi-Perambra region, the epicenter of the Nipah virus.

Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan also enquired from the member why he wore the mask.

Sixteen persons have lost their lives so far to Nipah virus (NiV) in two districts, Kozhikode and Malappuram, of the state since the confirmation of the deadly virus on May 17.