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Several of its senior members have been convicted of heinous crimes, including two deadly nerve gas attacks. It has been placed under tight surveillance and wherever its members try to settle, local residents and municipalities turn out to keep them away.

Still, Aum Shinrikyo claims more than 1,000 followers seven years after founder Shoko Asahara was arrested as the alleged mastermind of the cult’s major crimes, and membership has recently been picking up.

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