An overcrowded boat filled with labourers capsized in the Yamuna river in Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh early on Thursday, killing at least 22 people, officials said.
Locals blamed overcrowding for the tragedy.
Police and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) divers began taking out the bodies and rescuing the survivors, an official told IANS. A few who were rescued were admitted to a nearby medical facility.
Angry that an overcrowded boat was allowed to ply, villagers jammed a highway and set a few vehicles on fire, witnesses said.
District Magistrate Bhawani Singh and his officials tried to pacify the mob which refused to allow the bodies to be taken for autopsy.
They allowed five bodies to be taken by the police. But when more bodies were taken out, they started dumping them on the river bank.
Local officials say more than 60 people were in the boat when it capsized. The labourers were reportedly headed for Haryana.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has expressed his condolences over the loss of lives and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the families of the dead, Principal Secretary (Information) Awanish Kumar Awasthi said.