Indian Union Muslim League MLA Parakkal Abdulla, who represents Kuttiadi constituency in Kerala’s Kozhikode district attended the state Assembly wearing a mask and gloves on Monday, PTI reported. Seventeen people have died in the Nipah virus outbreak in the state – mainly in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts – in the last two weeks.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan accused Abdulla of trivialising a serious matter, while Health Minister KK Shailaja described it as a “ridiculous act”. “Either there should be patients here or the MLA himself should be infected,” The New Indian Express quoted Shailaja as saying. “In the latter case, he should not be here. What he is doing is wrong.”


Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala of the United Democratic Front defended Abdulla, saying the MLA had worn the mask in solidarity with the people of Kozhikode. ‘’There is no need to insult him,’’ Chennithala said. Abdulla said everyone in Kozhikode’s Perambra and Kuttiadi regions were walking around wearing the protective gear, and he wanted to draw the government’s attention to their plight, Manorama reported.

Meanwhile, Vijayan has directed the district collectors of Kozhikode and Malappuram to deliver free rice and other essential food articles to the homes of those people who have been put under quarantine in their homes. As many as 1,949 people who came in contact with Nipah patients are under observation.