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What is this bandh event? (Bangalore)

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Hi all;
Local friend is telling that the national bandh is in effect, that the gov't had somehow notified him, and he was concerned about being out and about. Says sometimes rowdies will vandalize shops that are open, and cars and commercial drivers, and the police and insurance companies look the other way.
Sounds like gov't sanctioned lawlessness. Plenty of shops and services closed, kids can't go to school.
What does it all achieve?
Is it safe for westerners or their employees to be out and about?
How could we have been notified, we only saw in the newspaper a relatively small item saying autorickshaws and others would strike.
There are somehow 'hours of operation' for the bandh, how would one know?
We don't want our property or persons or employees damaged or injured, what do we do?
Thanks for any perspective,
Dave

Bangalore Forum