Manama: Bahrain has cancelled the scholarships of 40 students for taking part in rallies calling for the overthrow of the regime, the education ministry said on Friday.

"The scholarships were granted with the stipulation that the students behave in a satisfactory manner and commit themselves to not harming the reputation of Bahrain in any way," Nabeel Al Assoumi, the head of public relations and media, said.

"Unfortunately, these students broke the convention and called for the overthrow of a political regime that is spending thousands of dinars for their education in most prestigious universities and to help build their character to serve their nation," he said.

No country would accept to spend huge amounts of money on citizens who do not respect it or act against its interests, he said.

"The ministry has already paid the students' dues until the end of the academic year 2010-2011 and the cancellation of the scholarships will be effective at the beginning of the new university year," Al Assoomi said.

According to the official, the ministry has granted 400 scholarships.

Thousands of Bahrainis have been calling for a tough stance against people who, they claim, have abused the system during the protests launched on February 14.

Al Asala, the flagship of Salafism, has been spearheading a movement to block the return of ministers or lawmakers in the lower chamber or members in the upper chamber who resigned in sympathy with the protesters or to express indignation with the government's attitudes.

The society on Thursday expelled its spiritual leader MP Adel Al Mouawda after he broke away from the society line to accept the resignation of 18 MPs representing Al Wefaq in the lower chamber.

Five Shura Council members on Wednesday withdrew their resignations days after submitting them.

Several MPs reported that they have been under pressure from their supporters to call for investigations into the prolonged absences of teachers and employees in the oil and aluminum sectors.