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Bandh is a form of protest used by political activists in South Asian countries such as India and Nepal. It is similar to a general strike. During a bandh, a political party or a community declare a general strike. A Bharatha bandh is a call for a bandh across India, and a bandh can also be called for an individual state or municipality.
The community or political party declaring a bandh expects the general public to stay at home and not report for work. Most affected are shopkeepers, who are expected to keep their shops closed, as well as public transport operators of buses and cabs who are expected to stay off the road and not carry passengers. There have been instances when large metropolitan cities have been brought to a standstill.
The Supreme Court of India ruled against any sort of hooliganism in the name of 'bandh' in 1998, but political parties still organize them. In 2004, the Supreme Court of India fined two political parties, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena, for organizing a bandh in Mumbai as a protest against bomb blasts in the city. The government of West Bengal also banned bandh often conducted by the communist party of India. 
Bandh was a common phenomenon by congress party in many states where they are in opposition. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and 13 non-UPA parties called for a nationwide bandh on 5 July 2010, to protest a fuel price hike. This bandh prevented Indians from carrying out day-to-day tasks, especially in states that were ruled by the NDA and the left. In Nepal, calls for bandhs have increased due to political instability.
Bharat bandh was called by the opposition party NDA on 31 May 2012, to protest against a steep hike in petrol prices.
On 20 September 2012, the BJP and otherparties called for a nationwide bandh in response to economic reforms undertaken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram. Chief among their grievances were the cut in subsidies for diesel and cooking gas and the decision to allow foreign investors to own majority stakes in the retail sector, including supermarkets and department stores.
One noteworthy incident is of bandh after the Akshardham Temple attack in Gujarat, in September 2002; it was the first time in history that a nationwide bandh was called after a tragic incident. All of India remained closed, from small tea stalls to the commodity and other stock markets at the Bombay Stock Exchange.
In 2016, the states of Kashmir, Gujarat, and Karnataka were most badly affected by frequent bandhs and strikes.
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