Visiting dignitary expected to draw huge crowds in Surrey

Security will be extremely tight and streets will be closed as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits local temple.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Surrey on Thursday.

Thousands of people will descend around a Surrey Vedic temple tomorrow as the prime minister of India drops in for a visit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive Thursday afternoon at the Lakshmi Narayan Mandir at 84 Avenue and 140 Street.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will also attend the Surrey event.

Security is expected to be extremely tight. Attendees will be subject to a scanning system three or four kilometres away from the temple, at the instructions of the RCMP.

Significant road closures will also be in effect, with 140 Street shut down between 72 and 88 Avenues from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

According to the RCMP, local traffic will be permitted onto 140 Street  from all feeder roads; however, access to 140 Street will be restricted from 88 Avenue and 72 Avenue. Residents are being urged to use alternate routes to and from their homes.

There will also be a secured area between Bear Creek Drive and 140 Street through 84 Avenue and 140 Street where absolutely no vehicle or foot traffic will be permitted.

“We are trying to have the least disruption as we can to local resents,” said Surrey RCMP Sgt. Dale Carr.

RCMP officers will be positioned at each intersection along 140 Street redirecting traffic throughout the day.

Event organizers initially planned for a crowd of 4,600, but winnowed that down to 3,000 at the request of the Mounties.

Protestors are expected at the event as well.

A group called Sikhs for Justice said it will be using Modi’s visit to further the call for an independent state in India.

The organization also wants to draw attention to the deadly riots that took place in Gujarat, India more than a decade ago while Modi was a senior minister there.

“He is being treated like a rock star, and I see that term being thrown around a lot, and this is completely against Canadian values,” the group’s director of international policy Jatinder Grewal told CBC News.

He said there will be several rallies during Modi’s visit.

On Wednesday, Canada signed six significant initiatives with India in several sectors, including civil aviation, rail, education and skills development, space, social security, and maternal, newborn and child health.

“The historic visit by Prime Minister Modi to Canada, combined with the number and scope of agreements signed today between our governments, clearly demonstrate the commitment of both countries to taking bilateral relations to new heights,” Harper said in a release.

~with files from CBC News