TThe Amrabad Tiger Reserve (ATR) is one of the bigger Tiger Reserve (TR) in India spreading over the Nallamala hills for 2,800 sq km, in the state of Telangana. This forest is very rich in bio-diversity, with lofty hills, numerous rivers and thick forest areas. It became a TR in 1983 (part of the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Wildlife Sanctuary, before the bifurcation of the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh state). Beside the rich-biodiversity, this forest is also home of the Chenchus, one of the most vulnerable scheduled tribes in India.
The conflict emerging in this area is related both to the conservationist rules which have become more restrictive in India after 1972 (Wildlife Protection Act), and for the demand for exploration of uranium in the reserved and protected forest. While the Chenchus community, who have been living in this forest for millennia are continuously threatened by eviction in the name of conservation, the government grants uranium mining concessions in the same area. The move has angered campaigners and local people who accuse the authorities of hypocrisy.
The process of displacement of the Chechus from the Reserve forest started in the early decades of the 20th century by the British. It became a normalized process in the 1980 after the declaration of the Nallamala forest as a Tiger Reserve (at that time united under Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Wildlife Sanctuary) which led to the displacement of many Chenchus’ habitations. Today it is estimated that about 200 villages are situated in and around the reserve, out of which 120 are within the sanctuary limits. However, the Chenchus have always fought back and had never accepted the Tiger reserve in their territory . According to the Integrated Tribal Development Agency data in 2015 there are 10,671 families comprising 41,780 people belonging to Chenchu adivasi community, who are living in six districts across Nallamalla forest. These districts include undivided Mahaboobnagar, Nalgonda and Rangareddy in Telangana, and Guntur, Prakasam and Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh 
Besides the tiger project, since 2003 the Chenchus have been fighting against the proposed Uranium mining within and around the TR, when the Uranium Corporation from Indian Limited (UCIL) applied for a mining lease for their Lambapur-Peddagattu project . Since then the Chenchus together with NGOs and environmentalist groups have campaigned against the exploration of uranium in Nalgonda district . At that time it was proposed a mining activity just6 km away from the reservoir, which would affect both the lives of people and wildlife. Moreover, the chosen site was just 4 km away from the dam water supply used to provide water to the Hyderabad city. While in 2003, the Union forest and environment ministry approved the denotification of 1,000 hectares of the Tiger Reserve to allow the Uranium exploration, in 2004 the State Pollution Control Board rejected the project in the Mallapuram area as too close to the Tiger Reserve. Although this was considered a first victory for the environmentalist group and the locals, the company continued to explore new areas to drill for uranium.
The new proposed site for uranium was Seripally, in Devarkonda Mandal, situated 28 km from Nagarjunasagar reservoir and hence less affected by the wildlife policies [3; 4]. Environmentalists, people's representatives, political leaders and local tribes also opposed the proposal to construct the uranium processing unit at Seripally. At an environment public hearing held by the Pollution Control Board on March 3, 2005, the majority said a firm "no " to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited's proposal [3-5]. Violence and oppression was also part of the protest. In a public hearing in 2006 in Hyderabad, K. Saraswathi, the joint secretary of city-based Forum for Sustainable Development, an NGO that opposes uranium mining said: “There was strong police presence at the public hearing (at Kadapa) and several activists were beaten up". “Those opposed to mining were not even allowed to take part in the hearing." “One of our activists in Kadapa even received death threats from the police," says Ravi Rebbapragada, chairman of Mines, Minerals and People, another NGO [3; 5].
However, all this did not stop the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) to give the site clearance and permission for the setting up of mines .
Since then the tribal people and the environmentalist group have continued protesting and advocating against the project; many researchers also assessed the high contamination of groundwater in and around Nalgonda area as well as the violation of indigenous tribe which were never consulted for the proposed site [6;3;7]. Indeed according to the Forest Rights Act, 2006, no projects can be developed without the free informed consent of the local and indigenous communities.
In 2011, in the name of tiger protection, a number of 40.000 Chenchus were planned to be relocated from the Nallamala Forest. An amount of 10 lakh rupees was offered to the tribals as part of the relocation plan set up by the MoEF in 2009, which has packaged this as voluntary resettlement [8; 17]. So far, a number of 200 families have been resettled by the authorities in Shanti Nagar and Gandhi Nagar near Yerragondapalem in Prakasam district . The others are fighting against the relocation. According to a report of the NTCA there is a plan to relocate about 1100 families from the tiger core area.
In the meantime, the state board of wildlife approved uranium exploration inside the Amrabad Tiger Reserve . The controversy of the conservation policies and the approval by the same wildlife board for uranium mining within the Tiger Reserve has left the Chenchus in the middle of a conflict that has gained momentum from 2017. The resistance against the project has united the local communities, the conservationist and the state authorities against the Central Government . Indeed according to The Hindu, the proposed Uranium mining will both severely impact biodiversity and will result in the displacement of over 70,000 people living in 42 villages. In opposition to this , the left parties have organised protests across the State in support of the demand to stop the mining project [12;16]. A signature campaign has also been organized by the Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society (HyTCS) against the proposed mining project .
On Sept. 9, 2019 a huge protest entitled ‘Nallamala Bandh’ (general strike) was observed by people’s organization and political parties against the central government. Shops, banks and educational institutions remained closed on the strike day, and people took out rallies and raised slogans against the proposed Uranium exploration. Revolutionary songs were sung to which women danced forming a human chain. After filling the air with the spirit of defiance, hundreds made a sit-in at the Ambedkar Chowrastha, blocking the traffic heading towards Srisailam and Nagarkurnool for a couple of hours. The message was clear. People were not going to allow the Centre to carry out its plan to explore uranium in the forests which people have always considered their mother [13;14]. In continuation, the Telangana State Legislative Assembly on Sept. 16, unanimously passed a resolution requesting the Central government not to permit or allow mining operations of uranium in Nallamala forest area of the State . Dharnas (non-violent sit-in protest were also organized.
Despite assurance by the Telangana state government to prevent the mine, there is no guarantee that mining won’t begin in the future. India has a plan to increase its uranium production tenfold over the next 15 years. If UCIL discovers significant uranium deposits, the Telegana state authorities may be very tempted to change their stance and allow for further environmental exploitation. Protest and opposition continues .
According to information shared on the Nagarkurnool website, the process of claiming the forest rights under the legal Forest Rights Act has started in the Nallamala Forest. It is reported that 2030 individual claims covering an area of 6561.48 acres were received, out of which 944 claims (2125.71 acres) have been granted and 1086 claims (4427.31 acres) were rejected. Only 5 community rights claims were filed for an area of 4,21 acres of which all of 5 were granted.