Page:Chertkov - Christian Martyrdom.djvu/21

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ing to the "Great Party." First of all, the troops called out were quartered "in execution" on the Spirit-Wrestlers' settlements, i.e. the property and the inhabitants themselves of these settlements were placed at the disposal of the officers, soldiers, and Cossacks quartered in these villages. Their property was plundered, and the inhabitants themselves were insulted and maltreated in every way, while the women were flogged with whips and some of them violated. The men, numbering about three hundred, who had refused to continue in the army service, and about thirty who had refused active service, were thrown into prison or sent to a penal battalion.

Afterwards more than four hundred families of Spirit-Wrestlers in Ahalkalaky were torn from their prosperous holdings and splendidly cultivated land, and after the forced sale, for a mere trifle, of their property, they were banished from the Ahalkalaky district to four other districts of the Tiflis government, and scattered among the Georgian villages, from one to five families to each village, and there abandoned to their fate.

As early as last autumn, (epidemics, such as fevers, typhus, diphtheria and dysentery, appeared among the Spirit-Wrestlers (scattered as above stated), with the result that the mortality increased largely, especially among the children.