At least 20 people have been killed and several others seriously injured after a truck driver lost control and ploughed into a group of farmers who had gathered outside a police station in southern India Friday, officials said.
At least 14 of those killed were electrocuted because the bus first hit an electricity pole causing high-tension wires to fall onto the crowd, police official Jaya Lakshmi said.
Police said the accident involved a drunk driver and the local government has ordered an investigation.
The incident happened in Chittoor district in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, said Superintendent of Police R. Jayalakshmi.
‘The driver of the lorry was drunk – he drove in a rash manner and hit an electrical pole just next to the police station,’ Jayalakshmi told reporters by telephone.
There was no indication that the deaths of the farmers who had gathered on the road outside the police station was anything but an accident, she said.
‘There is no terror link. It is a pure accident case. He is a local driver.’
Eyewitnesses described distressing scenes of mangled bodies as the bus hit a car and then the electricity pole before crashing into the crowd.
The farmers had been gathered outside the main police station in the town of Yerpedu protesting against illegal sand mining in their area.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences: ‘Pained by the loss of lives in an accident,’ he said in a tweet.
‘Condolences to families of the deceased and prayers with the injured.’
There has been a series of ram-raiding attacks by Islamist militants in Europe in recent months, raising concern of copycat attacks elsewhere.
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