14 killed as truck ploughs into villagers in Andhra

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Vijayawada: At least 13 people have died after a truck hit an electric pole and then ran into a group of demonstrators gathered outside a police station in the temple town of Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.

The Deccan Chronicle reported that some of the victims were also staging a protest before the police station, demanding action against illegal sand transportation from their native villages, when the accident occurred. The injured persons were taken to Ruia Hospital in Tirupati.

Earlier in the month, at least 26 pilgrims were injured when the van in which they were travelling overturned in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. The condition of 10 of the injured was said to be critical.

The accident took place in the Yerpedu area of Chittoor district.

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The truck driver and his assistant, who were suspected to be drunk, fled from the spot, the police said. The exact cause of the accident was under investigation.

Eyewitnesses told BBC Hindi's Omer Farooq that the speeding lorry first hit a vehicle and then an electricity pole before running into the protesting farmers. A case has been registered and a search operation was launched to nab the driver and cleaner.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu directed officials to ensure best possible treatment to the injured. Government will announce exgratia to the family members of the diseased in one or two days.

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