Home Minister P Chidambaram's offer for talks with all sections in Jammu and Kashmir has once again divided Kashmir's separatist leadership, with hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani declining the olive branch but moderate Mirwaiz Umar Farooq appearing willing to accept it.
At a press conference on Saturday, 80-year-old Geelani, who heads one faction of the All Party Hurriyat Conference, said, "I strongly reject the talks offer... A dialogue is possible only if India accepts Kashmir as a disputed territory and starts a process of withdrawal of occupation forces."
Following Geelani's unequivocal condemnation of violent protests, particularly stone throwing, hopes had been raised that he had mellowed and might be amenable to a dialogue.
The Mirwaiz, who heads the other Hurriyat faction, appeared willing to negotiate, but also said India and Pakistan should recognise that Kashmir is a disputed territory.
He said the final settlement should be "primarily in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people."
The week-long curfew was briefly lifted in Srinagar and parts of south and central Kashmir.
Sporadic protests continued.