VISAKHAPATNAM – At least 20 people have died after a truck rammed into a group of farmers staging a protest in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

While six persons were crushed to death under the truck’s wheels, others died of electrocution and the resultant fire, triggered by the mishap, the Indian Express reported.

Some of the injured were shifted to Ruia hospital in Tirupati, while few others were moved to hospitals in Chennai and Vellore. The condition of 10 of the injured was said to be critical.

The farmers were outside a police station in Chittoor district, protesting against illegal sand mining.

Police said the driver of the truck appeared to have lost control of his vehicle, but locals alleged that he deliberately drove into the crowd.

A local reporter of a regional newspaper who was at the police station lost his legs in the accident.

State officials have ordered an investigation into the incident.

The driver of the lorry has also been admitted to hospital with injuries.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has announced compensation of 500,000 rupees ($7,739;£6,048) to the families of those killed in the incident.